In which are introduced, ANECDOTES OF A GENTLEMAN.

Addressed to the Right Hon. Lady CH***TH▪




LONDON, Printed for G. ROBINSON, and J. BEW, in Paternoster-Row; and Sold by J. WALTER, Charing-Cross.



IT was not till I had read this book in print that I thought about a Preface; but on reviewing it, prior to publication, I am convinced that a Preface is absolutely necessary: a single period, however, will comprize it.

In the course of these volumes, it is possible the reader may meet with some [Page iv]sentiments, which, at first sight, seem unfavourable to the interests of virtue, and to the laws of moral life. As the direct contrary is all along intended to be strongly inculcated, the author begs those who think proper to turn over his pages, will not abruptly decide on any particular passages, which appear liable to objection, but have patience enough to go calmly on, and forbear to pass judgment till they have fairly seen the whole of his argu­ments.

Having thus briefly invited from the reader a candid perusal, I will only detain him a moment longer, to hear a short account of the work. The miscellaneous matter here offered, is the result of various [Page v]efforts, submitted, at various opportuni­ties, to the author's literary friends: the drudgery of correction has been obligingly undertaken by those friends, to whom he confesses himself indebted, not so much for the ardour of particular com­pliment, as for the frankness of general criticism.

The poetical parts, when first written, were each designed to stand alone, particu­larly the Elegy of a Nightingale, and the Epistle from an Unfortunate Lady to her Family. The Anecdotes of a Gentleman, are extracted from a larger work, of which what is now presented is little more than the introduction. The primary pages treat of [Page vi]Animals, and this part of the performance consists of moral Fancy-pieces, from which we proceed to the investigation of Facts. In short, though I have been somewhat immethodical, I have not been totally un­connected, and that I might not tire by symstematic sameness, I have varied my style, as often as I varied my subject.

Notwithstanding these kind corrections, however, a very ingenious and well-known gentleman (whose acquaintance with the author is unluckily of later date) has still discovered some things, which the writer wishes had not escaped the eyes of others. Perhaps they did not escape: there is a coy reluctance to find fault, and a dread [Page vii]of being too honest, in cases of private criticism often fatal; and a writer's re­putation is frequently forfeited by literary conceit on the one hand, and a scrupu­lous delicacy on the other.

These volumes were ready for publica­tion when the gentleman, of whom I last spoke, drew a judicious pen over such sen­tences as he thought might still gain a grace from alteration: but it was too late to avail myself of his taste and sincerity, or the reader would have received a more finished amusement. However, should the per­formance thus ‘—sent to its account With its imperfections on its head,’ [Page viii]have merit enough to please the public, the indulgence shall be repaid by the author's care to correct his errors, in a future edi­tion.


I Am more obliged to you, madam, than I can find language for ac­knowledgment. A sentiment of your ladyship's has revived a train of ideas in my mind, which I have at length de­termined to indulge—Be not alarmed. The sentiment, like the subject, is full of humanity. Ill fare the heart, whose tender bias is circumscribed by the paltry trammels of self-love, and [Page 2]can with-hold its benevolence from the minutest part of animated life. There is a deplorable illiberality in the affections of the vulgar: narrowly bigotted to one mean set of no­tions, and confirmed by the ungener­ous maxims that have been inculcated in the early periods of life, they sel­dom, or never, rise to a single senti­ment, which reflects dignity either on the head or heart; and the feelings of above half mankind are totally guided by the most contracted, and partial prejudices.

In contradiction of these limited rationals, and in defiance of customary impositions, I have the fortitude to think, and judge for myself—I look on the animal world as very nearly connected with me; and thus pub­licly [Page 3]declare myself the sincere well­wisher of every living thing. I am now going to address your ladyship upon some very interesting subjects: but, as they may possibly lengthen my enquiries beyond the limits of my present design, I shall beg leave to divide my letter into several parts; both for the relief of your attention, and to afford an opportunity to pause, till it is agreeable to your ladyship to resume the book.


I have called this treatise—Liberal Opinions, upon interesting Subjects; the principal of which relate to men, [Page 4]Providence, and animals. I chose this miscellaneous title to give myself a free scope, and to receive a sanction for in­dulging speculations, not absolutely ti­ed down to the rules of writing. By this, however, I do not mean to run riot in the wilderness of modern digression — but if, (by turning a little out of the beaten path,) I can catch an observ­ation, or pick up a sentiment, neglect­ed by such literary travellers as set out, like a plodding mechanic, with an inflexible resolution to jog strait forwards, though they might enjoy the most beautiful prospects by the slightest deviations—at the same time, that an obstinate attachment to the old track, presents nothing to the eye which has any novelty to recommend it, nor any thing to the mind that [Page 5]can give varied gratification.—There is a sad insipidity in those com­positions, which are fettered by the chains of criticism. Like the gar­dens of a citizen, we have regu­larity without beauty, and uniformity without taste. The images stand im­modestly staring upon each other in exact lines — the busts are placed skulking like q's in a corner, as equi­distant as the rule can measure their spaces; while their trees, alcoves, and hedges, (smug as their master's wigs) are cut in the most preposter­ous manner, and excite the ridicule of every sensible passenger. Among the countless quantity of books in our language, there are very few, madam, that abound in original thought. The multiplication of copies is infinite, [Page 6]and yet it seldom happens that the reader is presented with any fresh in­struction, or unhackneyed entertain­ment. I mention not this, because I would have you believe I have hit upon a new vein in the mine—but as it serves my purpose of making a remark or two on


The power of education is as strong, madam, as the appetites of nature, and in nothing more than the habits of writer and reader. Most of those who publish their senti­ments, have spent their lives rather [Page 7]in turning over volumes, than in trac­ing accurately the shifting scene, with intent to enrich themselves with ori­ginal ideas—rather in reading than in thinking. On the other hand the majority of those who are most ea­ger after the perusal of books, are directed by their tutors to read a cer­tain class, on the faith and credit of which, they are to form their future maxims, opinions, and behaviour. Thus both readers and writers go in leading-strings. The one re-print what has been printed by others (with some slight alteration) — the other consider those tenets incon­testible, which they have found in their favourite authors, or heard from the lips of friends or masters, probably under equal pre­judices. [Page 8]There are, indeed, certain self-evident propositions, the truth of which, like the sun at noon, strike unobstructed light upon the mind. To cavil or conjecture against these, would be to war with demonstration, and combat with truth and heaven. There are also a variety of opinions, rendered awful by the general belief of men, which have been adopted as max­ims out of the reach of confutation. Upon this account, if at any time a man hath dared to oppose any notion, which hath been handed down from fa­ther to son with the same care as the rent-rolls of the family estate—which was put into our mouths with the milk of our mothers, and pinned upon our understandings as early as the bibs on our bosoms—what is the conse­quence? [Page 9]— He is condemned as a dangerous innovator, — as one who would overset the established system of things—a system which antiqui­ty and truth have made venerable and decisive—Strange bigotry—'tis a dependency, madam, beneath the na­tural freedom of the mind. An in­tellectual obligation is as servile as a pecuniary one—one would not, in­deed, like Mandeville, oppose every thing, from the obstinate tenacity of founding a new system upon the ruins of the old—for that were as absurd as setting fire to one's house, because some flaws and errors were perceptible through the building—but it would, methinks, be an act of wisdom to do one's best to repair it. I have said thus much as an excuse for some pe­culiar [Page 10]sentiments which will be distri­buted through this letter. It is likely that I may advance opinions, not wholly correspondent to the general imitation of thinking — for, I am sorry to say, that our usual ideas are derived from a very silly and ser­vile imitation—the most sensible peo­ple are frequently parrots—they think as they are bid to think, and talk the dull dialect of their teachers, from the cradle to the coffin. A man of original contemplation, is a prodigy; and (like a prodigy) the eyes of every body are upon him the moment he appears — even the few which are pleased with his fortitude, admit the very conviction they feel with some reluctance—for we part from nothing we have any length of time been ac­customed [Page 11]to venerate—without pain. —Thus, many people who have ta­lents for speculation, check the im­pulse to speculate through a dislike of being particular. Genius, therefore, rusts in inactivity, and men content themselves with going on, in the old road, to avoid the charge of singu­larity, and the smiles of derision. I have ventured, however, madam, to give the rein to my inclination, and shall ramble from the beaten way of literary traffic, as often as it seems necessary to the discussion of topics, which will at least afford an ample field of liberal inquiry, and innocent investigation.—


I have, as your ladyship will re­member, already declared myself the friend of all the inhabitants which wing the air, or crawl upon the earth: and, although I have the tenderest attachment to my own species, and glory in the name of man and chris­tian, yet—if in my travels through the world, I happen (as is sometimes the case) to meet in the brute, the insect, or reptile, those endearing qualities, which I look for amongst men, in vain, I hesitate not to strike a bargain on the spot—form a strict alliance with the more rational animal, and only [Page 13]lament that it is possible for those who have dominion over the creation to be outdone by beings of an in­ferior order in the scale of life.

Having said thus much, your lady­ship will not wonder if, in this letter, I should say something in defence of those gentle domestics which accom­pany us in our retirements. But of all creatures that are accommodated with four feet, I am most enamoured of lap-dogs — yet, I admire almost every sort of dumb companions, a­mongst which I have now lived with little of other society for five years. Will your ladyship please to hear a description of my family.

Suppose me, madam, at my own house, (if I presume not in calling that a house, which consists of a sin­gle [Page 14]story)—be it then in my cottage (for that is the term which humility would give it); you behold me sit­ting before a frugal fire, with my lit­tle partakers of the blaze around me—that cat, which sits sage and thinking on the edge of the form, is not more remarkable for her beauty of person, than for the uncommon accomplishments of her mind. I say mind, because I am persuaded, and out of doubt as to that particu­lar — the trick-trying kitten, which is busied in chasing her shadow round the room, inherits all the genius of her mother—but has a small spice of the coquette in her temper; yet this is so common to pretty young fe­males, and so naturally wears off when they arrive at the gravity of [Page 15]cat-hood, besides it being graceful in kitten-hood, that it were a need­less severity to check it: the activity and fun of the creature, as she skips sidelong in wanton attitudes and an­tics, is now and then so pleasantly burlesque, that the inflexible mus­cles of you, old wretch of a pointer stretched in slumber along the hearth, almost relax into a grin, and sometimes the veteran is so inspired by the mimickry of little puss, that he raises his paw—gives her a pat of encouragement, and discovers all the playfulness of a puppy.—There is in this place so fair an opportunity of trying my skill as a writer, that I can­not resist making


Did you never take notice, madam, of two people of different ages sud­denly attracted to each other by the sympathy of ideas. Nothing but the power of pleasant thoughts can effect an association — the old man sits a long time smothered up, in the mist of his own melancholy — he hangs his head upon his breast, fixes his eyes over the fire, and seems to be employ­ed in some profound speculation: the fatigue, however, of thinking, proves too laborious, and he is at length rocked to sleep, in the cradle of his reflections. In the mean time, his favourite boy is left to cater for himself. The eye of a child converts every trifle into an object of enter­tainment, [Page 17]and every pretty unimport­ance is esteemed, a joyful acquisition. The father, after the refreshments of his nap, (that nepenthe of age) awakes —the stripling is acting, the kitten on the floor, and ingeniously exerts a thousand little efforts, to vary its amusement. Age, surveys the picture, and recalls ideas which bring to mind the moments when he was himself the happy harlequin of the carpet— a tear drops involuntarily, which is succeeded by a smile. At length the distance of ages is forgotten; the ve­teran is caught in the charm of chear­ful retrospection, forgets awhile the decrepitude of the last stage, and mixes in the whimsical and puerile gratifi­cations of the first.

You see, madam, here were too many flowers to remain uncropt. It [Page 18]would have been unpardonable for a young writer to let them wither— and ‘Waste their sweetness on the desart air.’

I have made up my nosegay—and am now ready to return with your ladyship to


Scampering up that shelf, sports an animal of peculiar pleasantry. It is Trimbrush, my squirrel, madam — a very ingenious, sprightly, and whim­sical fellow—the macaroni of animals, full as mischievous—full as coxcomic, and a great deal more witty than ma­ny a sine gentleman, whose advan­tages have been greater. His many [Page 19]entertaining conceits, and the laugh­able manner in which he sometimes amuses himself, have acquired him the name of the Humourist.

Apes, monkies, pies, and parrots, I have none. They were so assuming, and so saucy a set of domestics, and so arrogantly tyrannized over the paci­fic, and meek-minded part of my fa­mily, that I e'en discarded them from the society. They now reside with characters, for whom they are very proper companions. My apes are in the possession of certain Mimics, which caricature the excellence and talents of others, because they have neither talents or excellence of their own— and it is expected that the eldest male­ape will make his first public appear­ance next winter, in the character of [Page 20]a modern Lecturer—to which will be added, a farce of burlesque imitations. My monkies I have presented to a beau, and they are supposed to fur­nish him with hints, which enable him to lead the fashion—so that your ladyship perceives the bon ton are not a little indebted even to the excom­municated part of my family—as to my parrots, pies, and birds of speech, they are all the property of an unmar ried maiden gentlewoman, who is so extremely celebrated for volubility of conversation, and so unfatigued a con­tinuer, that nothing human could ever come in for a word; and yet she loves to hear nonsense, as well as talk it. I am told by a friend, that my dumb orators are—almost—a match for her. Must it not be a charming con­cord [Page 21]of sounds, when every instru­ment is in tune?—I was once at the concert myself—and the confusion of tongues must have been order and in­telligence to it. Poll screamed—mag chattered—the monkies squeaked, and the lady (with a note above them all) laboured hard for that charter of her sex, the last word. The day of their depar­ture was celebrated by my creatures, as a jubilee — my cats purred—my dogs gamboled—my squirrel danced a new cotilion on the occasion, and my birds (which you hear, are no bad musicians) whistled a fresh overture.

I beg your ladyship will honour that owl (blinking on his perch in the corner) with particular attention. He is known in my family by the name of the Feathered Philosopher; and that [Page 22]fair creature, uxoriously nestling un­der his left pinion, is his spouse, and a Poetess of no mean character—shall I let your ladyship into


The sage personages above men­tioned, were some time since in Lon­don, and the intimate companions of some town owls — and it has been seriously averred to me (by some of the trade,) that several poems— a collection of essays—several medical compositions, and a very large bundle of political papers, under a variety of signatures, together with sixteen volumes of sermons—warranted to be originals, and published from authen­tic manuscripts, now in the possession [Page 23]of many right reverend owls—were the joint-labours, of this literary, and ingenious, but unfortunate couple. In what incidents consist their mis­fortune, your ladyship will see, when I come to communicate their secret history—which history will abound, I trust, with as miraculous escapes, surprising adventures, marvellous turns of fortune—providential deliverances, —entertaining transitions, and accu­rate delineations of life and charac­ter, as were ever related—and in this presumption—I am so certain of the fact, that I shall not give up the point, even to the wonderful Robinson Cru­soe himself. And now, madam, I be­seech you to cast a kind eye on that exquisite little thing ruminating on his rug—'tis my


The Isaac of dogs—the Benjamin of animals. Never sure in man or beast, resided more gratitude, or more sen­sibility. Behold his bosom is grown grey in my society. Many a time, when the storms of the world have blown hard upon my head, even till the violence of the shock assailed my heart—when the eye of friendship became inverted, by ill success, and when I looked in vain around me for the benevolence of sympathy, and the consolations of human attachment— in those destitute moments (to the shame of man) came that affectionate adherent—and (with an officiousness of love, which wanted not the elo­quence [Page 25]of words to be understood) taught me to take refuge in resign­ation, and in his company set at defiance the malice of vicissitude. That very creature has made the grand tour, and returned at last in a good old age, to his chimney corner, and houshold gods, fraught with wis­dom and experience. He was tu­tor to the puppy of a nobleman, who was indeed but a dull dog himself. Tripsea, however, (for so is my favour­ite called,) though he could make no wise impressions on the young heir, did not neglect to enrich himself with all the policy, maxims, manners, govern­ment, and constitution of every coun­try through which he passed. His thirst of foreign knowledge was, in­deed, so remarkable, and his inquiries [Page 26]so minute, that he can bark upon those subjects with as much fluency, as any traveller upon earth—and this it is which makes him, one or another, the most entertaining animal that ever crossed the Atlantic. It was this creature which confirmed me in the belief, that the partition betwixt instinct and reason was totally trans­parent; and that the animal and ra­tional saw through very similar mir­rors. Tripsea is the delight of my so­ciety—nay, he is at this time president of a canine club, of which he is the life and soul—for they, being a set of ignorant country-bred dogs, he plays his own game with them; and, to say the truth, he does sometimes so bam­boozle the creatures with touches of the stupendous — as travellers, you [Page 27]know, madam, are apt to use a long bow—that he makes every parti­cular hair to stand an end upon their backs.—Yet the veriest cur of the county is open-mouthed to swallow the news, and, all to a dog, admire his parts, and confess the power of travel. I believe Tripsea is at this very time preparing a journal for the press, in which the public may ex­pect a collection of remarks, not infe­rior to any extant, with notes critical and explanatory, on the errors and abuses of other historians. As for the right honourable and drowsy whelp, who was the companion of Tripsea, his business abroad was pretty much like his business at home—he strag­gled about the streets—lifted up a naughty leg against the public build­ings—kept [Page 28]a mistress in a corner—in­trigued with a lady of the court—had an affair of honour with the poor dog of a husband—got worried by a bravo—seized by an officer of justice —whined out six days in prison— and wrote a fawning letter to the ani­mal of a minister to release him—but at length, as destitute of wisdom, as of every thing else that is valuable, he is returned—the hopeful and eldest son of the ancient family of the Jolt­ers—and his present employment is to talk highly of the great advantages of finishing one's education abroad, in order to persuade other puppies to follow his example.—But the im­provements of Tripsea, madam—the harvest of exotic instruction, which that dear serious-looking creature has [Page 29]in store—but—hush—he barks. Artful animal, I know the reason— see, madam, he leaps upon my lap. Aye, aye, I thought so.—I hope your ladyship will pardon him—as he is in treaty with a bookseller about his Au­thentic Memoirs, and has almost dis­posed of the copy-right—he whispers me his opinion, that it would be un­genteel to publish any anecdotes be­forehand, and might, hurt the sale. For your ladyship will be pleased to understand, that there has been of late a surprising revolution in the world of literature—brains, however, manufactured, sell now for little or nothing; for the longest and wisest heads in the nation have discovered that there is nothing within, (and con­sequently nothing that come out), [Page 30]which can reasonably be considered, as property. 'Tis all a caput mortuum; and past any sort of doubt, that the in­side even of a privy counsellor's skull is not worth half the value of the wig that covers it. This being the case, Tripsea is certainly in the right to make the best of his manuscript.

My family then, madam, briefly stands thus:

  • 1. A tabby cat. Descended from Mr. Gray's Selima.
  • 2. A tortoise-coloured kitten.
  • 3. A pointer,—of Spanish extrac­tion.
  • 4. A philosophical-medical-metaphy­cal-political-critical owl.
  • 5. An essayical-poetical-epigramma­tical owless.
  • [Page 31] 6. A social squirrel. A humourist.
  • 7. An historical-geographical lap­dog—third son to Pompey the Little.

To which may be added a chorus ‘Of larks, linnets, and finches.—’

Your ladyship would very justly accuse me of ingratitude, were I to neglect my out-of-door connections, whether footed or feathered—at the end of my garden you observe a bee­hive, inhabited by small, but in­dustrious people; and, though their little city swarms again, I do not think there is a single drone amongst them—and this is no very usual cir­cumstance attending a populous place —there is not, however, what can be called a lazy creature in the whole [Page 32]commonwealth, for the crowned head labours with his subjects, and every in­dividual collects something in to the ge­neral treasury.—A still minuter com­munity possess the empire of that sunny hillock; and are likewise animals of so commercial a turn, that the buz of eternal business resounds through the neighbourhood.—Your ladyship will likewise take notice of some family­hens, and fir Chanticlear at the head of them, strutting and gallanting it in all the pride of passion and of con­quest—it is the custom of the country to allow him many wives, madam; and therefore I do not interfere in his amours: on this charter he enjoys the privilege and vanity of his fea­thered seraglio as uncontrouled as a sultan; and, for the same reason, as [Page 33]I said before—for were it otherwise— by the chastity of the moon I swear, madam! that I would wring off the wretch's neck for the horrid crimes of polygamy and incontinence—not­withstanding the creature might plead the force of custom, and hope to find an excuse in the illustrious ex­amples of the human race.

A few anecdotes relating to one thing more, I must recommend to your ladyship. I mean


Him, however, I claim not as pri­vate property, but rather as my friend [Page 34]— he hath been my occasional how-do­ye visitor for many years—the bloom of his bosom is a little faded, you see, madam.—At our first acquaintance, he was somewhat shy—but he is at length so infinitely domesticated, that he eats from my hands, drinks out of the same fountain with my linnets, and, in cold weather, is seldom out of my cottage—my animals are all upon very good terms with him. The finches and he sing to each other: and the very cats (through habit and dis­cipline—such is the force of a hap­py education) spare his life—though, to say the truth, this does sometimes go desperately against the grain—for now and then as he hops upon the floor, hunting the food that hath es­caped the eyes of the family,—they [Page 35]look wistfully at him, and are ready, as it were, to seize him as natural prey.—

I would not, however, insinuate to the discredit of my poor Bob, that by leaving the house in the warm sea­sons, he acts the ingrate, and forgets the hand that protected him in the hour of cold and hunger—no, madam. He has not mixed enough with the vicious part of the world to adopt a baseness which is almost peculiar to the human species. So far otherwise, that I am certain the little thing would share with me the last crumb— nay, in a case of extremity, he would resign the whole meal, though it had been the labour of the day to hunt it in the hedges. In the summer, Bob will, indeed, make excursions—just to [Page 36]stretch his wings, and visit a few red­breasted neighbours—but he ever and anon flies back to his favourite spot—pecks at my window, as much as to say—how go you on, sir—and then —sits whistling under the currant­bush. I have also the pleasure of a nightingale's acquaintance — but, as some misfortune presses on the poor thing, she seldom comes nearer my cottage than yonder thicket; where, embowered among the bushes, she fixes her residence upon a solitary branch beneath the umbrage of an elm —yet, having a sweet pipe, she sings me a song at a small distance (that only serves to send it more meliorat­ed to the ear), almost every evening —Her note, indeed, is always in the penseroso—but, there is melody in [Page 37]her sorrow; and every variation in the harmonious melancholy, works its way into the heart. I have fre­quently stood listening to her pathetic warblings, till the tears have started to my eye—and thus I totally gave myself up to the tenderness of sym­pathy. It was in one of these periods, just as the last beams of light were reddening in the hemisphere, that, standing in my garden, I heard the voice of Philomela jurgle from the copse. There was a more than usual plaintiveness in her song, and, as I profess to understand precisely the language of birds, I could not but attend particularly to my feathered friend—I sat myself down in that lit­tle bower, (the aukward architecture of a pastoral hour) and soon perceived [Page 38]that my musical neighbour had chosen that evening to recapitulate the his­tory of her misfortunes. As soon as she ceased—which happened, indeed, before she had concluded the story, owing, I presume (by the abruptness of her breaking off), to the inquisitive impertinence of some chattering bird, which invaded her sanctuary—per­haps, to teaze her with the irksome chirup of condolence,) I retired into my cottage, and put together as well as I was able, a translation of those touching sentiments I had heard. As often as I am inclined to be serious— (and pensive pleasures are particularly dear to me) I turn over the narrative of my poor nightingale, and draw from her misfortunes the most exqui­site reflections. Without supposing [Page 39]your ladyship remarkably anxious to search into secrets, I must naturally have excited your curiosity to see the story. You shall not be disappointed. You will instantly read the


For Elusino lost,—renew the strain,
Pour the sad note upon the ev'ning gale;
And as the length'ning shades usurp the plain,
The silent moon shall listen to the tale.
Sore was the time—ill fated was the hour,
The thicket shook with many an omen dire!
When from the topmost twig of yon­der bower,
I saw my husband—tremble and expire.
'Twas when the peasant sought his twilight rest,
Beneath the brow of yonder breezy hill;
'Twas when the plumy nation sought the nest,
And all, but such as lov'd the night, were still.
That—as I sat with all a lover's pride,
(As was my custom when the sun withdrew)
Dear Elusino, sudden left my side,
And the curs'd form of man ap­pear'd in view.
For sport, the tube he levell'd at our head,
And, curious to behold more near my race,
Low in the copse the artful robber laid
Explor'd our haunt, and thunder'd at the place.
Ingrateful wretch—he was our shep­herd's son—
The harmless, good old tenant of yon cot!—
That shepherd would not such a deed have done!—
'Twas love to him that fix'd us to this spot.
Oft' as at eve his homeward steps he bent,
When the laborious task of day was o'er,
Our mellowed warbling footh'd him as he went,
'Till the charm'd hind—forgot that he was poor.
Ah—could not this, thy gratitude in­spire?
Could not our gentle visitations please?
Could not the blameless lessons of thy sire
Restrain thy barb'rous hand, from crimes like these?
Oh cruel boy—thou tyrant of the plain!
Couldst thou but see the sorrows thou hast made,
Or didst thou know the virtues thou hast slain,
And view the gloomy horrors of the shade.
Couldst thou — behold — my infant younglings lay,
In the moss cradle which our bills prepar'd,
Babes as they were—the offspring of the day—
Their wings defenceless, and their bosoms bar'd.
Surely, the mighty malice of thy kind, Thy pow'r to wrong, and readiness to kill;
In common pity, to the parent's mind, Would cease the new-made father's blood to spill.
Haply—the time may come, when heav'n may give
To thee, the troubles thou hast heap'd on me.
Haply—ere well thy babes begin to live,
Death shall present the dart of mi­sery.
Just as the tender hope begins to rise,
As the fond mother hugs her darl­ing boy;
As the big rapture trembles in the eyes,
And the breast throbs with all a parent's joy;
Then may some midnight robber,— skill'd in guile,
Resolv'd on plunder, and on deeds of death;
Thy fairy prospects—tender transports spoil,
And to the knife—resign thy chil­dren's breath.
In that sad moment shall thy savage heart,
Feel the keen anguish, desperate, and wild,
Conscience forlorn, shall doubly point the smart;
And justice whisper—this is child for child.—
Rest of their sire—my babes, alas, must sigh—
For grief obstructs the widow's anxious care;
This wasted form—this ever-weeping eye,
And the deep note of destitute des­pair;
All load this bosom with a fraught, so sore,
Scarce can I cater for the daily food!
Where'er I search — my husband search'd before—
And soon—my nest, will hold—an orphan brood!
For Eleusino, lost, then pour the strain,
Waft the sad note on ev'ry ev'ning gale;
And as the length'ning shades—

The interruption, madam, put an end to her complaint—perhaps, your good sense may here express some surprize that, (as birds have one lan­guage to shew their misery, and an­other to mark their happiness—) Phi­lomela should whistle out her calamity —If this should not be thought quite in nature, I beg she may find an apo­logy in the Italian and English


The definition of this composition is,—a miscellany of the most mon­strous contradictions, — not in, but —out of human nature!—it is— part ballad, and part dialogue—half poetry, and half prose—part tragedy, and part comedy—but all together— it is in every sense of the word, a complete farce. As they are all ma­nufactured upon the same principle, a specimen of one will serve as a speci­men of every thing that hath been produced in this way. The curtain draws, and discovers two young people: the one a lady in love— [Page 50]the other her friend and considante— the lady tells her companion, she doats upon a pretty fellow: this is first talked over in prose, and then set to music in poetry: upon this, the pret­ty fellow enters—tells you his history —and then, gives you his most seri­ous reflections thereupon in a tune— the young lady and he meet with ma­ny disappointments—these make them very serious; upon which they sing desperately one against another—dis­cover all along their passion and their despair—quaver out their feelings to exact time; and, after an infinite deal of musical labour, make their exits in an air that closes in the clapping of hands. The fathers, and relations next advance, and bluster out their objections to the match, agreeable to [Page 51]the notes of the fiddle—song combats with sentiment—nonsense jostles pro­bability, and the whole concludes with the universal applause of a British Au­dience. Such, madam, is the skele­ton of a modern burletta—pray par­don Philomela for adopting the pas­sion of so refined a nation—we will now return, madam, to


In which, amidst my agreeable and innocent society I sit as the Lord Pro­tector; and it were, indeed, shameful if I did nothing myself—I do a great deal—as much, indeed, as one pair of hands can well master; for your lady­ship [Page 52]must know that nothing which bears a greater resemblance to the hu­man face, than nature hath thought proper to bestow upon my owls, do I ever suffer to come near me. My rea­sons for this oddity are not unworthy your notice, and shall be briefly com­municated presently.—

It is now more than time I should explain myself as to another od­dity. It must have surprised you not a little, to receive a public address from a perfect stranger—a stranger to every thing but your character; and an idea even of that, was ob­tained from the lips of very poor people, whom your judicious bene­volence hath made happy with a lit­tle.

[Page 53]Be it known to your ladyship, that my sentiments upon behaviour are not less peculiar, than my method of living. Many, now, would have pre­faced, dedicationized, and introduc­tionized these volumes, with all pos­sible parade of apology. I have at this moment in idea the very language a modern author would use on this subject. As it ever appeared to me, one of the most unnatural crimes in the world to bury a thought which is but just created, and begotten—and by such means, smother the intellectual embrio, in the womb of the brain—I beg you will allow me to deliver my­self of that with which I now labour. The only midwife which we writers call in, upon these occasions, is simply, the feather of a goose, and I am con­cerned [Page 54]for the dignity of my frater­nity to inform your ladyship, that after all the pains of the birth, and trouble of dressing, the brat very of­ten—even at full growth—wants the sense of a gander.

To the Right Hon. worthy, and beautiful, The Lady —* Viscountess of —* Lady of the —* And one of her Majesty's *—* *—*


I must humbly beg permission to throw this trifle at your ladyship's feet: and deeply conscious as I am of its [Page 55]unworthiness—of its inaccuracy, and of its incapacity to stand before so bright and penetrating an eye as your ladyship's—I should not presume even to hope pardon for my temerity, were I not consoled by reflecting, that your taste, (infinite as it is,) meets a power­ful competitor in the immensity of your good-nature. But I have long wished an opportunity to approach so sacred and distinguished a character; and I now come forwards on my knee, with the profoundest humility of those creatures, which form a part of my present subject. As your illustrious birth defies the ambition of mere hu­man words on the one hand, so your unparalleled virtues annihilate the force of terrestrial compliments on the other: I shall therefore on those heads [Page 56]observe a religious silence. Yet so far I must implore liberty of doing vio­lence to your delicacy, as to remark that you are at once the pattern, and paragon of the age—that your beauty, wit, graces, and taste, are the envy of one sex, as your judgment and genius are the astonishment and mo­tives of despair in the other. People of fashion in other ages, have un­doubtedly possessed some admirable qualities. One woman may perhaps have been almost as handsome; a se­cond may have been almost as agree­able; a third may have possibly possessed equal sensibility; and a fourth may have been nearly as liberal. But the grand consolidation, and concentra­tion—the universal assemblage of be­witching accomplishments, each col­lected [Page 57]together, ray by ray, and blaz­ing to a point, like a July sun, were reserved for that curiosity of provi­dence the amiable lady * * * *

I humbly implore forgiveness for this intrusion, which I will only lengthen by beseeching your grace—I mean your ladyship—though a duchess you ought to be—will permit me to assure you

How sincerely I am, And Eternally will be, Your ladyship's Most obliged, Most obedient, Obsequious, Devoted slave, And very zealous servant, *—*—* *—*—*
[Page 58]

Your ladyship will observe, that the above address will equally suit all ages, characters, sexes, and con­ditions. The secret of writing dedi­cations—or in other words—of draw­ing characters, is simply this. Produce a pamphlet (which is frequently written on purpose to introduce the dedication); as soon as it is finished, cast about for a person of rank, whom you never saw, and taking a quire of gilt paper, transcribe the performance therein, and send it in manuscript to the patron; whom it is proper to com­pliment with all the virtues that ever entered into the heart of man. Now in this transaction it is not necessary that the party complimented should actually possess any of the said virtues, nor is that a matter of scrupulous en­quiry [Page 59]with the author. It is sufficient for him, that he can obtain a purse of money, in return for a page of com­pliment; and a skilful writer will al­ways proportion his quantity of praise to the quantity of cash which he ex­pects. So much flattery for so much profit. There are dedications of all prices, from five guineas to five hun­dren, though I could afford the above for fifty; and yet I believe it contains as pretty flights, as round-about me­taphors, as bombastic circumlocution, as was ever sent from a little man in obscurity, to a great man in the gay world—I should have said wo­man, but, as I observed before, it will do as well for one sex as the other. Many are the noblemen and noble­women, who would be highly pleased [Page 60]with this prostration of soul and sen­timent; but I will not insult your la­dyship's understanding with such dis­honest nonsense. There is a sensation in the good mind which beggars the loftiest flight of poetical adulation. I am superior to the arts of a merce­nary dedicator—if I did not think your ladyship above the punctilios of a formal introduction, I should my­self be above writing to you; and if I did apprehend these sheets would be novel, entertaining, and not destitute of moral, I should justly deem myself a blockhead, to send them to a woman of sense.—This premised, I beg you will suffer me to discard the absurd flattery of the times, and give you, in five lines, both a preface and dedication.

To Lady C *—*


An acquaintance of mine — a man of business, tells me of having transferred, to your care, a fresh fa­vourite of the canine breed.—Your sentiment on the occasion was this— ‘I will love it—spoil it and make it happy.’ To that sentiment I am in­debted for the idea which induced me to begin this letter. It is upon so in­nocent a subject, that I am pleased at requesting you will favour it with a reading.

I am, Your ladyship's Most obedient servant, *—* *—*

[Page 62] The force of imagination, is as omnipotent in writers, as in long­ing ladies. I am at this very mo­ment whispered, that your ladyship smiles upon this undertaking, and that you sit down by your sire-side ra­ther curious and inquisitive than re­luctant to see the end of so peculiar [...] speculation. Thus encouraged, my labour is lightened, and I go chearily on.—

But before I advert to the affairs of my own family, it were but a proper courtesy to attend the domestics of your ladyship—and more especially the little creature that is just come into your house. It is promised the honour of your protection.—

As I profess myself very tenderly the admirer of lap-dogs—nay—as I [Page 63]profess, most heartily to rejoice and sympathise with every atom in the circuit of animated nature, from the Camel to the Caterpillar—it is not on this occasion, consistent with the af­fections of my heart, to avoid a word of congratulation. Will your lady­ship suffer me to pay the respects of a moment to the favourite itself. The nature of the present work, madam, allows these little digressions—they are the episodes of our performance, and in historical productions there is nothing to be done without them. At the same time I flatter myself, that I have connected—and, to use a more scientific word—shall continue to concatinate this history surprisingly. Every part will form a link; and al­though they may be irregularly worked [Page 64]off, yet the artificer will put them to­gether in the end, so as to produce—a complete chain.—But now, madam, for


Twice—thrice, and four times hail, thou happy creature!—A friend to thy race compliments thee on thy transition!—Welcome—thrice wel­come to the downy carpet—the velvet cushion—and the gay apartment. Delicate—endearing, and envied are now the perquisites of thy distin­guished station.—The gentle pat, the fond embrace, the tender stroke—the tortoise comb, and the most exquisite viands. Long may the hand that [Page 65]cherishes, protects, and feeds thee, con­tinue its indulgence.—As long may'st thou deserve it. Be grateful, and be happy.—But, ah! beware of the com­mon vice of prosperity—beware of luxury. Lap-dogs, lords, and ladies, have been equally the victims of vo­luptuousness. The plenitude of unex­ercised ease hath been often fatal; and the bills of mortality are swelled with the luxurious, rather than with the in­digent. Consider, dear creature, that there is a pestilence in plenty, as well as in famine.—Take heed therefore, that this sudden elevation, bringeth not upon thee plethoric diseases of in­dolence—a languid love of sleeping by the fire—a dropsical corpulence, and a vitiated refinement of appetite.— Anticipate not by sloth and inactivity [Page 66]the stroke of dissolution—but should the attenuated thread of thy existence by untimely cut—shouldst thou pant, in resignation to the decisive blow, which neither Pompey the Great, nor the Little could resist—should that elo­quent face—that intelligent eye—that polished skin—(oft purified in the snowy suds) — those velvet feet, all yield to the blow, which is impartially levelled at merit and beauty in every form—let those who survive to lament thy exit, inscribe upon the monument (which thy affec­tionate mistress will cause to be e­rected) the following honest tribute to thy memory. And the ensigns of ex­cellence shall be embellished in lively figures above it — while Fame shall blow her trumpet into the ear of every [Page 67]spectator; and future artificers take the hint of ornament from the tro­phies on thy tomb-stone.—


On FLORIZEL, the only son of DELIA, Who departed this life In the year of our Lord, *—* * *—* Anno Aetatis. *—* * *—*

INSCRITION. Whether thou art bird, beast, or man, Stop, Traveller, And pay that Great duty of sensibility To A fellow-creature, For Beneath this marble Lie buried [Page 68]





[Page 69] The mortal Remains Of A four-footed Favourite, Whose Virtues Were Many and illustrious, yet Ask no Aid From Funereal Flattery.

Worthiest of his kind!

The Glory of a numerous Family!

An Ornament to His Species!

He was An honest Dependent, A gentle Companion, A grateful Friend, Of Integrity inflexible—, For [Page 70] Toast could not tempt him to Steal: Of Manners incomparable, For Plenty could not tempt him to Pride: Of Veracity unsuspected, For Worlds could not tempt him to Lye.

Go, Passenger, Imitate his Virtues, And Mourn his Fall.—

To courts accustom'd, yet to cringe asham'd,
Of person lovely, and in life unblam'd;
[Page 71] Skill'd in each gentle, each prevailing art,
That leads directly to the female heart;
A soft partaker of the quiet hour,
Friend of the parlour, partner of the bow'r:
In health, in sickness, ever faithful found;
Yet, by no ties, but ties of kindness, bound—
Of instinct,—nature,—reason—, what you will,
(For to all duties he was constant still)
Whate'er the motive, the event was good,
And spoke the gon'rous tenour of his blood.
Such was the being underneath this shrine;—
Study the character, and make it THINE.

We will now proceed, madam, in our observations on the animal crea­ation. I promised to assign some rea­sons for the preference I give to the society of birds and beasts, rather than to the society of my own species. [Page 72]Those reasons now wait your lady­ship's attention. You will find them related in the following

FRAGMENT OF — Adventures.

— Born with one of the tenderest hearts, BENIGNUS, at a very early pe­riod, began to search for a friend: from the age of fifteen to the age of thirty-two were his labours unwearied — and unrewarded. At length, hav­ing wasted his fortune and spirits, he gave up the endeavour in despair, and retiring to a forest on the banks of the—he spent the latter days of his life in animal society — No hu­man being was invited to his hut— [Page 73]no human form was sollicited to ap­proach it. In view of the smoke of the metropolis he lived as an hermit; and resolved never more to see the face of man. It happened, however, that in the year 1768 he fell sick, and having laid till his distemper had got beyond the reach of medicine, and till his collection of creatures were wasted to the bone, he crawled, by painful ef­forts, from his bed to the door of his cottage, and fastening thereto a written label, with these words, ‘THE PROPERTY OF THE FIRST TRA­VELLER,’ he staggered back again to his couch. I was, at this crisis, madam, upon my re­turn to town from a rural excursion; and as I always loved to explore the most [Page 74]unfrequented paths, in order to diver­sify the prospects of my journey, I be­held, through the obstructions of a great number of trees, something like the abode of a fellow-creature. I hung my horse at the next hedge, and re­solved to satisfy my desire to know what man had chosen so pastoral a situ­ation, in an age when the ideas of Ar­cadia are treated as the fables of the brain. It was with some toil I tore my way through the bushes— for footing saw I none—at length I arrived at the structure, and read the sentiment on the label. Fear now ope­rated as strongly as curiosity—I knew not whether to go forward, or to re­treat. It might possibly be the refuge of a robber, and the inscription on the door might be a trap for the in­cautious [Page 75]wanderer. I gave way, how­ever, to my favourite inclination, and pulled the latch that admitted me into the cottage.—

The furniture of the apartment struck me dumb with astonishment— for the groans of the dying, and the situations of the dead, resembled ra­ther a charnel-house, than the cottage of simplicity—birds of various sort were laying dead in their cages—dogs and squirrels were writhing in the last agony—the master of the mansion was just expired, and one poor solitary cat empress of the dominion, seemed to eye the dead as her natural pro­perty.—

In a christian country—nay, in a forest so near to, I was doubly amazed at these shocking circum­stances—what [Page 76]measure to pursue I knew not. Upon casting my eyes round the room, I saw a small trunk, and at the end of that several small sacks. Upon looking into the box, I found it full of manuscripts, which immediately commanded my attention, and upon examination of papers, I soon found the secret of this extraordinary person's birth and connexions. I sought out his relations by the clue his letters and memorandums had given me,— they were people of rank, and as he absconded from every body suddenly, they judged him to have been either drowned or murdered. However, the dead body was restored to the family, and now sleeps with its ancestors in * * * *.

[Page 77] To this very enterprize, however, I am indebted for something that I value, madam, beyond every other worldly possession. I found it wrapt curiously up in a small bag of crimson velvet, in a little private drawer at the bottom of the trunk which contained the manuscripts; and it was after­wards given to me as a rewarding pre­sent by the relations of Benignus, for the discovery. It accounts, for every peculiarity in the conduct of the unhappy man in whose cottage it was found; and although it cannot defend his total desertion of society, in the opinion of the world, yet it hath so endeared his memory to me, that I have in some measure followed his example, and adopted many of his sentiments ever since.

[Page 78]But as it would be unpardonable for me to lead you into the gloom, without endeavouring to reward you for it, I will now unlock my darling treasure, and transcribe, from the original manuscript, a few anecdotes from



—As some explanations may be thought necessary for leaving the world after having mixed in it for a number of years,—and for not trans­mitting any account of myself since the first hour of my sequestration, I [Page 79]will now throw together the principal heads of my history, and shall leave it behind me, as an apology for my conduct—if haply either I, or this shed which I have erected with my own hands, shall at any future time be discovered. But as I shall write down these matters at my hours of leisure, when they interfere not with the duties of my domestic family, I shall divide the adventures into se­parate chapters, that I may take up or lay down the pen, as I think proper.


The history of my very babyhood is peculiar—I was certainly born to be [Page 80]the sport of fortune.—The day which gave me to the world, took my mo­ther out of it; and a month after­wards my father caught a fever,— sickened and followed her. Thus was I an orphan in the nursery—I soon dis­covered a love of society—My guar­dian (who was a clergyman) provided me with books, and little compa­nions, and put out my fortune (which consisted of twelve thousand pounds in specie) at interest. The books which he put into my hands were the Spectators.—They first put me upon speculation, and my young friends led me into relaxations of amusement. I had not the general objections of a boy to school, because I was eager af­ter every sort of knowledge. I took my instructions in proportion to my [Page 81]application—but in all my readings and researches, the attachment to my fel­low-creatures was my first and favour­ite passion. Benevolence was the leading principle of my life. I consi­dered myself as born to the great duty of making every body happy around me. A virtuous sentiment warmed my heart, a tender story wetted my eye—my hand was open to dis­tress in every form, and I was always ready to give the allowance of my childhood to the alleviation of misery —the Spectators which were all the private library I had at this time—with Virgil, Homer, Sallust, and other of my school books, were all full of expres­sions which encouraged me, in my generous principle: they one and all declared, that ‘To be good, was to be happy.’


Upon this noble principle I re­solved to begin—continue—and end my exstience—I wrote concerning my resolution to my guardian—he confirmed and established the maxim, and concluded by assuring me that the only way ‘To be happy, was to be good.’

There are few situations in life, more pleasing, than the contempla­tions of a young mind, upon the sub­ject of universal happiness. The the­ory of these ideas is delightful—the practice is sometimes a little mortify­ing [Page 83]especially to young people. I began to put in force my system im­mediately: I entered into the com­mon pleasure of a school-boy, and tried every possible method to endear my­self to my companions. Whenever they committed a childish fault, I took the blame upon myself—when­ever any disputes arose, I endeavoured to compromise the matter to the gene­ral tranquillity; and whenever they broke any of their toys, I privately repaired the loss with new ones. But some how or another, these efforts did not turn out quite satisfactorily. I got several severe whippings for fa­thering errors which were not my own; I was stigmatised by the lads as a busy body, for interfering with quarrels which did not concern me; [Page 84]and I was accused of partiality for making presents to one playmate in preference to another. And thus my benevolence was in the very first outset, rewarded with severity, and contempt. However I was too well grounded in the truth of my grand principle, and had indeed naturally too tender an heart, to suffer a few slight mortifications to relax the vi­gour of my virtue. The morning of life is the meridian of generosity, and though I was a little miserable at my disappointment, I made myself cer­tain, that if I continued ‘To be good, I should certainly be happy—’


— A number of the boys had one day formed a party to rob the or­chard of a neighbouring farmer, and from the orchard had pre-deter­mined to march to the hen-roost, and then return with their spoils to their several chambers. Intelligence of this was communicated to me by a boy who was piqued at being unengaged in the adventure. The shock I felt at the news is indiscribable. The next evening was to be the time fixt for the perpetration of the fact. It was altogether a business so repugnant to all the precepts I had read, and so im­mediately combated my notions of [Page 86]benevolence that I trembled at the idea—I turned over the Spectators— every paper was flat against it. I knew not what to do. The most anxi­ous state of the mind, is the agitation of divided and irresolute reflections. I was bewildered betwixt two measures, unknowing which to choose or which to reject. The questions to be de­bated were these: Shall I prevent this bad action by expostulating with the boys, or by acquainting the master of the design to commit it?— the tenderness of my heart repre­sented a general flaggellation, as the reward of the latter; and I there­fore chose the former. When once a scheme of this kind is formed by a set of boys, there is a sort of inflexi­ble attachment among the conspirators, [Page 87]that has all the solemnity of a plot up­on the government: every lip is seal­ed, and every eye is wary—I found the banditti (a part from the rest of of the boys) gathered together in the true circle of consultation—head with­in head, and arm within arm—I in­troduced the subject so as to soften its atrociousness. Endeavoured as a friend—a school-fellow and a compa­nion—to dissuade them from so dis­honest an attempt: argued with them as from play-mate to play-mate, and conjured them to desist,—promising at the same time to purchase the very objects of their present machinations out of my own pocket—they heard me out without any other interrup­tion, than stifled titterings—winks, nods, and knocks against the elbows [Page 88]of each other—but at the conclusion, the general pleasantry was no longer to be disguised, and they burst out into a downright laugh. As soon as they had satisfied their appetite of derision, they assumed a more serious air, called me a listner, a poor, cow­ardly brat, without spirit for glori­ous enterprize—bid me stick to my books, and at last set up a great shout, and fairly hissed me from their society.


— I retired to my chamber, and burst into tears: a train of reflec­tions pressed hard upon my heart, and (in spite of all my belief in the recti­tude of my favourite maxim) I could not help arguing with myself—What [Page 89](said I) is it necessary that in the effort to do good to others, I must make myself miserable? Well, well, no matter: these little miscarriages are but so many trials of my integrity. As the gold comes purified from the fire, so, no doubt, shall my happiness come augmented from trifling anxie­ties, magnanimously sustained. I will go on in the strait road, and not faul­ter at the thorns, briars, or impedi­ments, which I meet in the journey, even though their points and prickles draw blood from my heart: ‘To be good is, to be happy.’

The dusk of evening began at length to fall upon the earth, under cover of which, the young robbers were to sally forth—I could no longer smother up [Page 91]the secret in my breast. The anxiety of suppression had already half-dis­tracted me. I saw my master reading in the garden, and immediately ran to him. An act of real fraud must be done or prevented within half an hour; I loved my play-mates, but I loved my principles yet more—after many hesitations, and begging their only punishment might be a falutary lecture of reproof, I unsolded the whole scheme. The master looked extremely solemn, while I was speaking, but how was I amazed at the conclusion, to see half a smile prevail over the habitual wrinkles of his forehead. He bid me "not be so much concerned—that boys would be boys—that robbing orchards and hen-roosts, were a sort of petty­larceny, which the little pilferers [Page 90]would commit in defiance of the rod; and that, though he should not encour­age theft, yet that such small depreda­tions, upon apples and poultry, were always among the adventures of every lad of spirit, and that it would not be political in a master to whip them vio­lently away, lest it should hurt their fu­ture courage to combat the adversities of life—observing, (in the close of his ha­rangue,) that in general those children made the best men, which were fore­most in such puerile archievements"— I bowed, and withdrew. Fresh think­ing brought on fresh perplexity—I fell again to soliloquy. He that steals a chicken, said I, at ten years old, may be tempted to take a purse at twenty —I rambled very far in the labyrinth of reflection—I could make nothing [Page 92]of it—I gave up the point with the following remark—The master and the boys are both wrong—I have done my duty, and my conscience is dis­charged of a very great load.—With­out dispute ‘To be good, is to be happy.’

The next morning—for my master did not think fit to flog for an in­tended error—but suffered the fact to be first committed—the next morn­ing, a charge was produced against the offenders, and I was pointed out as their accuser. In this, however, the master was disingenuous, for my evidence was utterly unnecessary— the proofs being found on the very persons of the parties, as their waist­coats, and coats and stockings, were [Page 93]covered with the down and the feathers of their trophies, and the pockets of every delinquent, like the panniers of a fruiterer, stuck pre­posterously out from each side, and betrayed the prog and vegetable spoils within. However, I stood forth, be­ing called upon, in defence of my ve­racity. The culprits were by no means hardened in the habit of error, and the deep blush of every cheek betrayed silent confession—The bill was found against them, and the sen­tence of whipping was executed on the spot—The cry was piercing, and went to my heart—how readily would I have partaken the anguish.—As soon as this exercise was over, my master went out of the school—before his back was well turned, the very [Page 94]objects of his discipline began to mi­mic, and make faces at him, and as soon as they judged him to be out of hearing, the whole school was up in arms against me, who they aspersed as a little paltry puppy, which ought to be knocked on the head for telling tales out of school. News was now brought in, that as the master was seized with an head-ach, and could not attend school, the chief boy must go through the business of the morn­ing in his stead. The boys took ad­vantage of this hour of security, and instantly revenged the discipline they had received for my information, ten­fold upon me. They buffeted me with their hats, spurted ink upon my cloaths, spit in my face, kicked me in the breech, and loaded me with every [Page 95]insult, that a set of barbarous brats could possibly inflict upon the cat which they had tied to the stake. In conclusion—not a boy would sit near me—I was avoided as a pestilence, and some of the smartest actually made verses on my TREASON, as they called it, and sung them about the yard to ludicrous tunes.—My sensations at these insults, were a mixture of ten thousand feelings, at the same mo­ment.

For a long time after this trans­action, I scarce exchanged ten words with any one, but wandered up and down the yard, in a sad, solitary man­ner, like a distempered sheep, dis­carded and beaten from the flock.— Sometimes indeed an arch wag would tell me a sorrowful history of his los­ses,—the [Page 96]breaking of a hoop or the de­molition of a top; but as soon as he had obtained his end, he would sidle off to his old companions, and putting out his tongue, tell how cleverly he had taken in the INFORMER.

Thus was I cussed, mocked, hooted at, and deserted, for endeavouring to prevent an action, which I thought, on all hands, unlawful, and unbene­volent. I again took up my dear Spectators, and in those inestimable volumes, I found that the only way to felicity was to PERSEVERE in well doing.—This sentiment was like a cordial to a fainting man.—I shut the book, walked chearfully across my chamber, and resolving to persevere, concluded as usual, that ‘To be good, was to be happy.’


— At the end of about two months, the severity of my fate be­gan to remit of its rigour. Perpetu­ated malignity is not often the vice of a school-boy. As I was altogether of a social turn, I even went so far as to purchase a reconciliation, at the price of a few concessions. But the greatest progress towards a re­union betwixt me and the boys, was made by a skilful distribution of pre­sents and promises—for (however strange it may seem) the influence of money is not greater in the state, than in the schools. A penny judiciously bestowed, will secure the heart of a child, as firm as a bank note can pos­sibly [Page 98]secure the voice and interest of a man. Children learn very early to be venal; and though few are mi­sers, a very great number are mer­cenary. I was at length pretty well re-established in their graces, and really began to think they repent­ed of their treatment to me. This idea so softened my heart, that I ac­tually invoked the Muse upon the oc­casion, and yielding to the friendly impulse, composed a Poem in praise of youthful affection. This was read in open senate, and the sentiments highly approved. I now thought my­self blest, for I supposed I had per­suaded my school-fellows to

Be good,
And therefore I,
Was happy.

[Page 99]—A friend of our master, and a father to one of the boys, obtained us an holiday—the school was emp­tied in a moment, and its inhabitants dispersed into several parties, agree­able to their respective passions and pursuits. It was however soon resolv­ed nem. con. to make it a day of bird-nesting. The idea of game once started by an experienced boy, like a pack of hounds, the whole follow his trail — they were civil enough to invite my company—that I might not offend them by refusal, I agreed to accompany them, though I detested the diversion—we immediately betook ourselves to the fields, and inclosures, which resounded with the notes of passion, the calls of courtship, and the song of satisfaction. The [Page 100]boys inspected narrowly into every hedge, and tore their fingers and hands in the scrutiny. It was the middle of the summer, when animal nature teems almost universally with life. Every bush therefore inspired expectation. They soon found eggs in abundance. Some formed them into a string of beads—others smashed them against the ground to see the embrios within, thus prematurely hatched and murdered in the shock— while some, at all events, broke them at one end, and sucked out the con­tents—as yet however no young were found, and being wearied with search they suspended it awhile, and agreed to lie down and rest under a large cluster of maples, which afforded an agreeable shade, at a small distance. [Page 101]Thither they repaired, and as they appeared to be in a less noisy disposi­tion than usual, I thought proper to take advantage of the moment and endeavour to impress them with a sense of my own PRINCIPLE—the re­treat was so comfortable that few of them were willing to forsake it, at least till the sun abated his fervor, as he descended to the west. To sill up the interval, I proposed, to tell them a story. A story is a very acceptable matter to the extreme curiosity of a young mind, and my offer was imme­diately caught at. A general silence prevailed through the little incum­bent audience, and I addressed it, in the following manner.


—IN TIMES OF OLD there lived a man near a great forest. He was a keeper of sheep, and had, (as the story goes,) a very large family.—Some of his children were grown up and some were infants. One was in the cra­dle and two were upon the lap. The mother was a noted spinner, and she set all the girls to work, as soon as they could hold the wool in their hands, and had streagth enough to turn round the wheel: while the father took care to find out-of­door business for the boys—some were herdboys, and some that were too weak for hard work, scared the birds from corn—now it is reported by the neigh­bours [Page 103]of the adjacent village that the old shepherd was a mighty odd character, and that he bred up his family in a very different manner from the maxims of his poor neighbours. As he was unable to give them the ad­vantage of an education like ours, and teach them Latin and Greek, he was re­solved to educate them in such accom­plishments as his situation permitted. He was a man of tenderness and simplicity, and often said to his chil­dren—"Do all the good you can, boys, but be sure you do no harm. You must all labour for a livelihood, but you may always get your bread inno­cently; and the bread that is honestly earned, will be always sweet — I am myself obliged to attend a flock —your mother is compelled to spin— [Page 104]to the poor sheep therefore we are all indebted — they furnish us with food and raiment; I therefore love the harmless creatures, and would not hurt them for all that they are worth: let this teach you to behave properly to poor dumb animals, and to use them as they deserve, and may thy father's curse overtake thee, if at any time ye do wrong to those, which do no wrong to thee: for be assured, wan­ton cruelty will always be returned upon the tormentor. The whole family list­ened to the old man's argument, and it would have been well for them if they had always obeyed the precepts of their father. But now comes the cream of the story—pray therefore attend.— The eldest son had one day taken the nest of a robin, which consisted of five [Page 105]young ones, and a sixth just bursting from the shell—he carried them home to his brothers and sisters, to each of which he gave a bird; but the little nestling he gave to one of the children in the lap, who wrapping it up in a piece of flannel, put it into a small wicker basket, and set it to the fire.— The boy that found the nest, tied a string to the leg of his bird, and cru­elly dragged it after him—the second son run pins through the eyes of his bird, and took a delight in seeing it bleed to death.—The third gave his to the cat, or rather, pretended to give it, for he held it first pretty close to puss's whiskers, and then pulled it away from her, but at last, she pounced upon it, and carried off one of the legs.—The eldest daughter intended [Page 106]to have taken care of her's, but one of her brothers having murdered his own, seized upon her property, and both pulling the poor wretch different ways, betwixt compassion and cru­elty, it died in the contest—and the younger girl, now in possession of the only bird that was left, put her's into a cage, and covered it over with wool. At this crisis the mother, who had been gleaning, and the old shepherd, re­turned home. The limbs of the dead birds were seen upon the floor, and the cat was busily employed in a corner, at clearing them away. The old man insisted upon the truth. The trembling boy confessed it.—Barbarous wretches! cried the shepherd—is this the return for my care and instruction—but I will punish ye for it—the eldest son he tied by the leg and did to him as he [Page 107]did to the bird—the second son he scratched with pins till his hands were all over blood—at the third he set his dog, who caught him by the leg as he was used to catch the sheep—the eldest daughter who had lost her bird he pitied—he kiss'd the second daughter, which had put her poor thing into the cage, but he hugged to his very heart the little creature that had placed the nestling in a warm basket.—Now IT PLEASED GOD, that about six or seven months after this, the eldest son (which had been the cause of all this mischief) fell sick, and died; and many people are now living who say, that as he was going to be put into the ground, the ravens, rooks, kites, and other vast birds, all flew over his coffin, screamed, and could by no [Page 108]means be got away, nor could he rest in his grave for them; because the animals were always digging up the earth under which he lay, as if they were resolved to eat him up—and some declare, he is actually gone. I beg pardon, school-fellows, for this long story, but I shall finish directly. I can­not help mentioning to you the dif­ferent fate of the good little girl that treated the poor animal tenderly. A year after the death of her brother she died herself of the small pox, and I do assure you, it has been told to me for fact, that her grave is a perfect garden, for the robins do not suf­fer a single weed to grow upon it, and GOD ALMIGHTY has adorned it with wild field-flowers, as inno­cent as the baby which they cover.


—Though this story was univer­sally attended to with great earnest­ness, yet it failed, upon the whole, of producing the effect desired. Some few, indeed, were attracted by its moral, but the far greater number were satisfied with saying it was a pretty story, only that they disliked the conduct of the father, whom they censured as a cruel old fellow, which deserved to be hanged. They now got up, and renewed their sport with a vigour, which my poor story seemed to have redoubled.—Nay, some of them carried the matter so far as to wish they could hit upon a robin's [Page 110]nest, that they might try what sun could possibly lie in the experiments related in the narrative.—Perceiving this I began to re-persuade—they laughed—I protested that I would go without pleasure for ever, rather than derive it from the pain of innocence. —They jested on my gravity, even to clamour—I conjured them to listen to the general notes of loss and lament­ation which echoed from the parents whose young they were seeking to destroy.—They vowed that they wished they had all the birds of the air in a net—and as to me (whom they called a squeamish milksop), if I did not like the amusement, I might go home, and play at pat-ball with my sister;—adding—for their part, they intended each of them to bring home [Page 111]a hatfull of creatures — then return and dispose of their spoil as they thought proper.


Once more, mortified, and dis­appointed in my benevolent endea­vours, I sought the road that led to the school; and in walking along, I could not but indulge some mysterious ruminations.

—Surely, said I, there is some­thing very strange in all this? My efforts to

Be good,
seem to counteract my efforts, to be Happy!

[Page 112]At the time my good nurse told me the story, which I told to the boys, I remember it made me both weep and tremble; and I believe I never killed or injured a fly in my whole life—nay, I feel for the very brute that suffers to support me, and sometimes shed a tear to the necessity that condemns it to destruction.—My school-fellows, on the contrary, de­light in slaughter, death, and mas­sacre. I have seen them exert upon a bird, a bat, a wasp, or a worm, more tortures than I thought any thing that had life could support. I tell them it is cruel,—and they treat me with derision—nay, several grown up people join the laugh against me, and say, that I was designed for a girl. [Page 113]I must write to my guardian on the subject—certainly, ‘To be good, must be to be happy.’

And yet, how is it, that (though I do all the little good in my power) I am still miserable!—How is it that on those days in which I only do no harm, I am less insulted, than on those in which I labour to do good. Yet, in one case, my merit is negative—in the other, actually agree­able to all that I have read in the Scriptures, and Spectators, and all that I have heard from the lips of my guardian. What a number of indig­nities have I already suffered, for the very things from which I expected happiness.—'Tis very distressing, [Page 114]and I am determined to know the the cause of it—

By this time I had got into a green lane, pretty near the house of my master; and turning my head aside, to see what occasioned a flouncing I heard close by me, I saw a creature hanging by the horns at the edge of the ditch—it was a sheep, ei­ther thrown there by some boys, or caught amongst the briars by chance —the poor creature was half smother­ed in the mud—at the price of a great deal of toil and dirt, I disen­tangled the animal, but it was so weary with former efforts, that I had still to drag it from the ditch—I did so, and when it came out, it was difficult to tell, which was the more shocking spectacle, for it was one of [Page 115]those ditches that (on account of its gloomy and humid situation) even the warmth of the summer could not dry up—

—I sat by the creature till it re­covered strength to stagger away, and I must own had no small inclination to carry it with my own hands into the next grass enclosure; but I desist­ed from this, because I thought I might trespass on the property of some one to whom the sheep did not belong: though I was now scarce fifteen, reading, thinking, and observ­ation had taught me such habits of sentiment.

At this crisis a man on horseback passed me, and seeing the sheep in such a condition, and me in as bad, [Page 116]suspected that I had been its tormen­tor—he said that I deserved to have the skin whipped over my ears—so I should think so too, said I, if I had been guilty of so barbarous an action —come, come, don't tell a lie into the bargain, you young rascal, that's worse than the other, said the man; and spreading the thong of his whip, hit me a violent blow in the face, that set my nose a bleeding, and rode on—and yet while I was a talking with this merciful man, I happened to cast my eye under the girth of his saddle, and found almost every vein in the horse, from one flank to the other, gushing with blood—his spurs, and the heel of his boot, were clogged.—

[Page 117]—Notwithstanding this treat­ment, I felt some pleasure in the rich reflection of having rescued a dumb animal from misery—but my nose spouted so obstinately that I was obliged to make the best of my way to the school; especially as I had been detained rather late by my ad­venture. The bird-nesters had return­ed before me, and they, with the rest of the scholars, were in the sit­ting-room with the master at supper.

—I did not, till I entered the apartment, reflect, that my figure was at present likely to excite both ridicule, and enquiry—but the mo­ment I opened the door, the whole society were in an uproar—my face was covered with gore—my nose swelled with the lash of the horseman's [Page 118]whip, and my clothes were of the same hue with the poor sheep's back —the master was so exasperated at the sight, that he would not hear a word about the story, but caned me severely for spoiling my things, made me a public example before the very boys whom I had been advising to be tender-hearted,—pushed me from his presence, and sent me supperless to bed.—

—My private meditations were not pleasant—I had no light to look into my Spectators, nor do I suppose I should have derived at that time any relief from them had it been fun­shine.—I had no inclination for sleep, and yet got into bed — the bird­nesters came into my chamber, be­fore they retired for the night into [Page 119]their own, and with an air of exult­ation, told me, they had rare sport, but supposed I had still better—call­ed me raw head and bloody-bones, and bade me good night—

After lying silent above three hours—

—Good God, cried I, for what have I been thus chastised—fretted, and insulted—Is it for my benevo­lence—? If ‘To be good is to be happy,’ wherefore are all my best designs thus frustrated?—The first rays of the morning light broke in upon my re­flections—I arose and taking out ink, and paper, sat myself down at the window to write.—


—I threw together an explicit account of my various sufferings, actions, and apprehensions; and sent them away to my guardian, as soon as I was allowed the privilege of walk­ing again amongst my play-mates. The clergyman, to whom my father thought proper to leave the direction of his affairs, was as honest, and inoffensive a priest, as ever harangued from a pulpit. He was esteemed by his parishioners profoundly learned, inso­much, that scarce any business was done in the village without his know­ledge. From his wisdom and friend­ship I expected great satisfaction, and [Page 121]anticipated the return of the post, with all imaginable pleasure.

Anticipation of pleasure however is the very destruction of it. The returning post came, and brought me a BLACK SEAL—my guardian had died of an apoplexy, an hour after the receipt of my letter, which he was preparing to answer. I was sum­moned suddenly away to take posses­sion of his papers, for the good man having no family, nor any connexions, which were dearer to him than the son of the friend of his youth, had, in the fondness of his heart, made his last sentiments in my favor, and indeed left me sole excutor. The sud­denness of the circumstance, at first stunned me—I put the letter of death into the hand of my master—begged [Page 122]he would suffer me to set out directly, and flung myself into a chair—the tears came at last. I loved the deceased beyond expression—without attend­ing to what was said to me—I got into a chaise, and drove to * * * *.


To young men of a serious com­plexion, the chamber of death is inexpressibly terrible, especially when the body of a benefactor is extended on the bed.—At a proper time, I trust­ed him to the bosom of the earth, with every mark of decency, and affection: and at length I ventured to read over his will, and take account of [Page 123]his effects—my youth, and experience unsitting me for these affairs, I called in the assistance of an attorney who resided at a market town three miles from the village, who had indeed drawn up the testament for my guar­dian. To the judgment of this gen­tleman, who bore a fair reputation, I trusted. Till he came indeed the house might very properly be termed an house of mourning, for a great concourse of sable looking people were crowding together into every room. The whole village was actually empti­ed into the vicarage: I found they came upon two distinct errands. To condole, and to congratulate. They were vastly sorry their good pastor was gone, but they were extremely glad that I was come, and heartily [Page 124]wished me many happy years. I re­turned them thanks for the latter part of their business, and wept with them for the first. The lawyer appeared. They fled. Mourners of this kied detest an attorney—perhaps because he knows them better than a raw school-boy. My house was cleared in a moment. It is not without very pe­culiar propriety I make use of the word cleared, for I soon found that those very weepers and wailers, were no other than some of those birds of prey, that watch the mortality of an human body, scent the carcase from afar, and vulture like immediately proceed to plunder. They cried in­deed with their eyes, but not chusing to hold up an handkerchief to wipe them, their pickers and stea­lers [Page 125]were at liberty, to secrete certain portable moveables, which perhaps they might take a particular fancy to Poor wretches, they did not know that ‘To be good, was to be happy!’

Upon inspection into matters, it appeared that the good clergyman had died worth three thousand pounds, besides his dwelling house (which he built), a large garden, a small paddock adjoining his garden, and a consider­able quantity of furniture. (His living fell again into the hands of the pa­tron.) The whole of the above he had given to me, subjected to the payment of a small legacy of 100l. to a very dis­tant relation, and twenty pounds to the [Page 126]poor of the village, to be distributed amongst the properest objects, on the second Sunday after his decease—By the will of my own father, it was re­quested, that my guardian, would nominate a second in case of his own death during my infancy. This ap­pointment my father neglected to do himself, perhaps because he wished to pay a compliment to the good cler­gyman. But being himself an hearty man, he had not made over the trust, and as he died suddenly, the sole dis­posal both of the fortune left by my father, and the fortune left by my guardian, came naturally to my dis­cretion. I expressed a surprize at this—the attorney said it was cer­tainly an oversight in my guardian— [Page 127]we were both a good while silent. The lawyer submitted it to me as an act of prudence, whether I would choose myself to appoint a trustee, till I came of age, and there was I re­member an egotism in his looks, which seemed to ask me what I should think of him for that office? I told him I would take a day to deliberate upon it, and consult with him again.


Now of all the things upon earth, I knew the least how to manage money, and yet I was in possession of near twenty thousand pounds, including the accumulated interest of the twelve [Page 128]thousand, left by my father—a thought came suddenly across me, which de­termined me at once—the power of a pleasant idea when the soul is gloomy, operates like an unexpected sunbeam, darting through an hemi­sphere of clouds—the sky and the face, the element and the whole ma­chine of man, are in those cases equally bright and delightful—'twas so with me. As I am now master of twenty thousand pounds, said I, I shall be able to make many of my good fellow-crea­tures happy,—I will neither return to school nor attend lethargic universities, but instantly step into life, and, mixing with mankind, indulge at once my cu­riosity, and my benevolence.—With­out more ado I wrote to the attorney, that I intended to travel, and should [Page 129]therefore want my ready money left by my guardian; and that, the sum which was already invested in the funds, might remain. The law­yer did not seem to like the mea­sure, but for the first time in my life, I ran the risque of disobliging another, to gratify myself: 'twas not perhaps strictly benevolent, yet as it was the first petulance I ever indulged, the idea of the error came softened upon my understanding— happy had it been for me, if in­stead or stepping into life, and put­ting money in my purse, I had sat quietly down in the chimney-corner, and, like the virtuoso in the comedy, travelled only in my Books.—

—Amongst the furniture of the house which now decended to me, [Page 130]was a small walnut-tree book-case, at the opening of which my foolish heart, bigotted to sentiment, leapt for pleasure: and it was a dearer trea­sure to my heart at that time, than all the money I had in the world. It contained the following books:

  • Works of Jeremy Taylor.
  • — of Thomas à Kempis.
  • B— Burnet's Pastoral Care.
  • Practice of Piety.
  • St. Chrysostom.
  • The Tragedy of Cato.
  • Annotations on the Scriptures,
  • Quarles's Emblems.
  • Pilgrim's Progress.
  • Passion of Christ.
  • Sermons, in 23 Volumes (selected)
  • Prayers for Private Houses.
  • [Page 131] Baxter, on the Soul.
  • And
  • Drelincourt on Death.

To these were added, a collection of discourses in manuscript, which my poor old friend, used ex officio, with every passage of which his pa­rishioners were made repeatedly ac­quainted. I wanted extremely to read all the volumes in my possession, and would have begun the task directly, but for one of those interruptions which are immediately attendant up­on people in prosperity.


I was now condemned to that sort of drudgery, which custom and com­plaisance have imposed upon men just stepped into a fortune.—The gen­try of the neighbourhood came upon the commerce of visitings; and the poor of my parish, and all the parishes adjacent, were at my gate, upon the subject of charity. I have since found out, that these were pickpockets of different kinds. At that time, how­ever, I thought of them very differ­ently—the rich I received with cordial­ity, and the poor never went away empty-handed; and yet by some strange waywardness and perverseness of my stars—my ill-luck—or what­ever [Page 133]else influenced the events of my life, I had never the good fortune to satisfy either. Benevolence was still the motive, but felicity was not the effect. My heart was one of those, which might be supposed to reside in the breast of a stripling, impressed in the nursery, with a sense of that great social duty, extending from earth to heaven—the duty which beginning with GOD, descends to man, and ter­minates in brute. With a natural in­clination to gentleness, I soon acquir­ed from the Bible and Spectators, an habit of thinking, as well as feeling right. Never indulging myself in those boyish feats which sow in chil­dren the first fatal seeds of cruelty, in­justice, and ingratitude, I in some sort acquired a degree of primitive purity [Page 134]in my ideas, that carried me into that line of action, which I then thought the road to happiness, but which I now perceive the certain path to indignity and disgrace. With such a heart, and with such pro­pensities and principles belonging to it, I loved all—thought well of all— embraced all. With the sad I sympa­thized—with the happy I exulted; and to such as had none to help them, but he who bids the primrose spring modestly round my present retreat, I gave the comforts which even the eco­nomy of nature demanded. Perhaps no man was ever accoutered with weapons of worse defence, to struggle through the warfare of life, than the principles and propensions I have mentioned.

[Page 135]After all the fretful labours of an ac­tive though short existence, I am now writing the heads of my history in the depth of an unfrequented forest. From man I have nothing to expect, since I have abjured his society—I am provided with water from the spring, and I have taken care to supply myself with stores which were brought to the skirts of the wood, by a mule whom I have now turned adrift to him that should find him—I eat but lit­tle—much still remains in my store­box—the tugs of heart, and strokes of anguish that I met in society, assure me that I shall not long conti­nue in solitude alive. I have ascended the hill, and though I am yet but in the middle of man's life, I feel myself at the very verge of the declivity. The [Page 136]ravages of misery, are even greater than those of time. There is nothing in my fight but a few dumb domestics, which I have summoned together, as the substitute of man, and which soothe me when the broken heart requires consolation: nor do I hear any thing in my forest but the inno­cent language, and animated va­riety, of such creatures, as are form­ed to inhabit the wood. The moment of fate, which must car­ry me from earth, cannot be long delayed—I am writing these passages of my life, under the immediate eye of a GOD, whom I expect shortly to see—I expect therefore at the same time, that whenever my history is read, (if it be ever found,) that the startling sentiments in this chapter, may [Page 137]be very particularly attended to—not condemned as the hasty effusions of a splenitic refugee, who (disappointed in his expectations) prefers the society of beast, to man; but as a mournful fact, the force of which will be always felt in proportion to the experience of the reader.—If however my senti­ments should as yet appear irreconcile­able, as I confess they clash with most of the common systems of the age, let the objector read on; and he will find them exemplified in the future periods of a narrative written by a a dying man.—


The last chapter contains the asser­tion which I pronounced would startle a great many people, notwith­standing what has been advanc'd to cor­roborate it, in the former part of this manuscript—I have ventured to assert that an extreme tender and good mind, ardently pursuing its propensi­ties, is the most improper mind in the world to produce TERRESTRIAL feli­city. Objectible as this may seem, I must take upon me (in the full en­joyment of a sound mind, and per­fect memory) to push the point far­ther; and add, that in nine instances [Page 139]out of ten, those propensities, are utterly against him in this world: and often bring their master, to discredit, poverty, and shame.

The world will be up in arms against me, and my bones will be hunted for, and gibbetted—What!

Is not—to be good—to be happy?—

The answer is given in a sentence. In this world, generally speaking No.

Nor, in the world to come?


Are not men therefore

To be good?



[Page 140] For the sake of God, and our conscience.

But is goodness then against our worldly interest?

Nine times out of ten.

Is not that the fault of God—?


Whose then.



Suffer me to prove it.



About this time happened the Sun­day on which the legacy of twenty pounds was to be divided amongst [Page 141]such objects, as more immediately stood in need of the donation. After morning service, I had requested the clerk to summon all those mendicants into the vestry, which he knew to be particular­ly indigent and deserving. It is almost impossible to do things privately in a village: it was soon known to the whole parish, that the favour of their bene­factor was on this day to be distribut­ed, and accordingly, the church was on this day crouded with more poor people than had been known there for many years.

Too many of them were led thither by the hand of hope rather than of reli­gion. The money was divided by the curate of the next parish, who officiated at both that and my guardian's, since the death of the latter. He was an up­right [Page 142]character, knew every inhabi­tant, and was therefore a proper per­son for such an office.—The people as­sisted, went satisfied away, and I was truly of opinion that ‘To be good, was to be happy.’ At the porch of the church, as the curate, the clerk, and I were go­ing home, we were intercepted, by the sight of a pretty large multi­tude, every member of which seemed to be visited by all the afflictions of Lazarus. Lameness, blindness, filth, and nakedness, were here in the most formidable array: Their numbers baffled computation, and every one's business appeared to be, how he could most effectually appeal to my [Page 143]compassion. The hospital at Chelsea, could scarce have produced such a con­gress of invalids. The clerk was for driving them away with his wand— I prevented this, and enquired for what they assembled. In the true key of complaint, they God-blessed my honour, and said, it was for money. The curate replied, the most needy were already relieved.—The beggars displayed their tattered garments, lean looks, and imperfect limbs. I did not know what to do. The clerk bid them go home to their own parishes, for that they did not belong to us. I put my hand into my pocket—my purse was empty—I bid them come to my gate within an hour—they came, and I desired the clerk to divide 20l. more upon them, a sum which I [Page 144]very luckily happened to have in halfs crowns, a kind of pieces which my guardian was always fond of hoard­ing. In ten minutes after the clerk disappeared, I heard a violent noise at at my gate: the beggars, dissatisfied with his bounty, or rather with his manner of distribution, had all fal­len upon him, and bruised the poor fellow unmercifully: they said the men in the vestry had right to no more money than they—they drove the clerk about till he was glad to find shelter in the house—I threw up the fash, to expostulate—they muttered before my face, and upon the clerk threat­ening to have them set in the stocks, several of the most audacious of them, in token of defiance, broke my windows with pebble-stones. About [Page 145]eight o'clock in the evening another mortifying circumstance fell out; for the people in the yard having spent their respective modicums at the ale­house, to the great annoyance of many sober disposed people of the parish, they at length fallied out in a body, and encountered the people of the vestry, by whom they esteemed themselves robbed of their right. A war of words (as usual) began the contest—a fierce and bloody battle en­sued. The farmers left their houses to still the riot by authority, but they were obliged to retreat with many a broken head,—the wives and daughters came next, and abused me for throwing away my money, and encouraging a set of lazy vermin that did not belong to the parish—they said that I might be [Page 146]ashamed of myself for turning the sabbath day, into a day of drunkenness, when every good body ought to have the Testament in their hands; and concluded by observing, that there did not use to be such goings on in their poor dead minister's time; but indeed what better could be expected from a mad-brain harum-scarum bit of a boy.

This was but a bad prognostic of future felicity — I protest that I meant all for the general satisfaction —twenty pounds was to be given away to the poorest of the parish, and I took great pains to have the poorest selected and relieved—a party of unexpected necessitous creatures invit­ed my charity; and that no complaint of partiality might prevail either [Page 147]against the memory of my guardian, or against myself, I directed an equal quantity of money to be divided amongst those who were not included in the bequeathed bounty—the merce­nary part of the mob made head against me—abused my agent, and struck the glass out of my windows: instead of carrying in their hands the comforts I had given them to their pining families they steal into an alehouse and pour the bounty—down their throats—they next pick a quarrel with their fellow-labourers, break the sconces of their masters, and then I am to bear the blame of the whole. I am always treated in this manner I think. 'Twas just thus with me, at school.—I must some how or another have a strange method of [Page 148]going about benevolent actions,— or I have peculiar ill-luck—or else my ideas of happiness must be dreadfully confused, or—or—


—The curate (who generally reserv­ed all his language for his Sunday duty) was at this very time twirling round his band with one hand, and holding his pipe up to his mouth with the other—but feeling the wind attack him through the broken casement, he had entrenched himself behind a large screen, which extended from one end of the room to the other—not a word said he to the complaints either [Page 149]of widows, wives, husbands, or daughters; and yet rolled his eyes up and down, and seemed to listen to every body—

Doctor, said I—who could have supposed that from so innocent an action, such distressing consequences should arise—who could suppose it, I say?

Nobody—said the priest.—

Might not one have reasonably ex­pected to receive the thanks and tears, rather than the reproaches of these poor people—?

Certainly—said the priest —

Have you, my friend, ever met these hard returns?

Frequently—said the priest, shaking his head.

Don't they make you very unhappy?

[Page 150]No doubt—said the parson.

How do you get over them, doctor?

Smoke—said the priest, pointing to his pipe.

Is that a specific for the anxieties, which arise from ingrateful treatment?

I never smoke, doctor—have you no other remedy for me more in the road of your profession?

Surely, said the priest.

Name it, my dear friend, for I am truly miserable—

PATIENCE, said the priest—If a man has patience, no crosses, nor any mis­fortunes—nor any accidents—nor any distresses—nor any—

The good priest was now set in for it. I drew my chair opposite to his, and hoped now for great improve­ment—the doctor took the pipe from [Page 151]his lips—a spark fell from it upon his leg—Patience sir, said the doctor, (exalting his voice,) is that blessed, beatific, divine, caelestial — zounds and the devil, cried the priest, I've scorched the calf of my leg to pieces.—He rubbed the part affected—skipped about the room like a madman, threw the pipe in the sire, and ran out of the house.

Go thy ways, said I — neither from thee nor thy patience will my perplexity of mind be relieved. —I unlocked my book-case, and read without intermission till twelve o'clock at night—the volumes were all set to the same tune: Be good, and be happybe happy, and be good — I took up Cato, and my bosom bound­ed when I came to this couplet, [Page 152]

'Tis not in mortals to command success;
But we'll do more, Sempronius—we'll de­serve it.

I applied the sentiment to my own case, and found that it fitted me to a hair—I repeated it over and over— and I admired it more at every recep­tion—the clerk knocked at my door, and told me that one of the drunken beggars, in staggering home, had tumbled into a ditch, and was drown­ed, and that a wife to a principal far­mer was frightened into an untimely labour by the riot, and not expected to get over it—Honest man, replied I—I am heartily sorry for it, but how could I possibly help it—? I meant well, the thing has fallen out ill— remember Mr. Clerk—remember what the poet says, [Page 153]

'Tis not in mortals to command success;
But we'll do more, Sempronius—we'll de­serve it.

Sempronius, sir, said the clerk!— I don't know for that—but I tell you the fact. He walked off, and I believe suspected the sanity of my intellect.—


I set in for a week's close reading— 'twas still the same maxim, multipli­ed and modified into different expres­sions, through different volumes— ‘To be good is to be happy.’

[Page 154]I was determined to try the virtue of the expression, beyond the limits of the village. I set out for London, and in that city I arrived in the six­teenth year of my age, after having desired the attorney to give an eye to my affairs at the village, during my absence—at my first entrance into the metropolis, new sensations took root in my heart. Every street was full —every shop was busy—and every foot was in motion—this, said I—is certainly the place to bring every principle and every sentiment to the test—I took up my lodging at the house of a gentlewoman to whom I was distantly related—she received me politely.

And now came on a train of trials, and a series of events, which shall be [Page 155]related as they recur to my me­mory.—

—But before I proceed to set down my transactions in the metro­polis, it is impossible for me to pass a few circumstances, that fell out upon the road. The social turn of my temper made me prefer a journey in the stage, to the solitary luxury of going post. I had three miles to ride to the machine, in which my fellow­passengers were seated sive minutes before I reach'd the inn: nor did this small delay pass unnoticed by the driver, who was rubbing his hands to­gether and blowing his fingers upon account of the cold; declaring at the same time, that he had waited for me till his horses were starved to [Page 156]death. Notwithstanding which, he thought proper to ask for something to drink my health, thereby detaining us a quarter of an hour longer; then having given the hostler his perquisite —without which he would certainly have held the coach-door in his hand, at least another quarter of an hour— we found ourselves in motion. My fellow-travellers were not only muffled by the darkness of the night, but were so enveloped in their great coats, that though (by the intermixture of legs) I supposed myself amongst human creatures, yet I received no other assurances of the matter, till (after tossing for about five hours,) we made a full sick stop to refresh our­selves with breakfast.


This house had as unfriendly an ap­pearance as ever hung out to the eye of the traveller, a signal of welcome, that is, in other words, an invitation for him to spend his money. Not a creature was up, though every body knew the exact time in which the coach would come in. In a garret window indeed glimmered a malancholy can­dle, and after the coachman had smacked his whip about twenty times, and reinforced the reports by a pretty considerable number of oaths (peculiar to gentlemen of the whip) from that garret, with the candle between his fin­gers, came the hostler, rubbing his eyes, and crawling his way to the stable, [Page 158]rather by instinct, than a consciousness of knowing what he was about. About ten minutes after this the trusty chambermaid (whose business was in have every thing in readiness, against the arrival of the coach) came blink­ing to the door like a buzzard, and conducted us to so dark, dismal, and damp a room, that if we had requested the good man of the mansion for the charity of a breakfast, it would have been difficult to have deposited our miserable carcases in a more un­fortable apartment.—And now it was, that my fellow passengers began to convince me they were capable of moving their tongues, of which they one and all made use to express the same complaint; viz. that it was a most shameful thing for travellers to [Page 159]be treated in that manner upon the road—that if they expected a coach and six with my lord L—or my lady M—, the whole house and stables would be illuminated, and, perhaps, half the village at the wheels to gape at their honours; but that people who jumble to town in a stage, and have a couple of hun­dred miles to go upon business, can nei­ther get sire or candle in the first stage.

For my part these things were new to me, and therefore I contended my­self with begging Mrs. Betty to bestir herself, and get us a dish of tea as expeditiously as she could—In a little time, the faggot began to blaze—the kettle began to boil, and those little domestic comforts made at last their appearance, which removing our dis­appointments, [Page 160]put the company into a better humour—and presently we had leisure and opportunity to contemplate the countenances of one another.—


Our society consisted of three per­sons besides myself, and all were men; one was dressed in a suit of plain light brown with buttons of the same—the brims of his hat were of immense circumference, and there was a primi­tive nicety in the tie of his neck-cloth that spoke his character.—Another had a suit of black, somewhat faded; and the third, who was habited in a coat of snuff colour, with waistcoat and breeches of black velvet, had the air [Page 161]of a shop about him so palpable, that I could almost have sworn to his trade at the first glance. When the heart is happy and satisfied, the tongue is generally voluble and communicative. About the third dish we became sociable, and at the en­trance of the second plate of toast, we knew of what we were each in pursuit of. The man in black indeed was extremely reserved, said little, and sipped his tea, or rather play­ed with his tea-spoon, as if he thought society an interruption. — The gen­tleman in brown was of the num­ber of people called quakers, travelling upwards, to attend a solemn meeting of friends upon the marriage of a preach­er: the man in snuff-colour, was an inhabitant of the market-town from [Page 162]whence we came, and was going to visit his daughter. The most difficult matter remained, and that was to disclose my business in the capital. I told them that mine was a business of benevolence, and that I was actually upon the road to Lon­don in search of happiness. The passengers looked upon each other, and smiled, but every smile was dif­ferent. The coachman came now to acquaint us our half hour was expired, and the horses were ready; and af­ter passing through the usual cere­monies with the hostler (who insisted on his customary six pence notwith­standing his idleness in being found in bed) and something for Mrs. Betty (for the trouble of rising up when she was called) we again set forward on [Page 163]our journey—as soon as we were pretty well settled, the quaker open'd the conversation.


—I could not help smiling friend (said he, looking sagaciously at the broad flaps of his beaver) to hear thee say thou wert journeying to­wards the great city, in search of happiness, and yet, I, as well as thou, and these other good brethen at our side as well as we—and indeed all the fellow-men upon the earth, are en­gaged in the like vain pursuit; we are all travellers bound for the same place, [Page 164]though, peradventure, we take differ­ent roads thereto; and yet, such is the frail nature of the flesh, that we are for ever jogging onward, and shift about from place to place, dissatisfied with our road — disgusted with our journey, till we put off the old man, and reach the gloomy gate that leads to the city of the Saviour

Vanity of vanities, saith preacher wisely, all is vanity.

—Here the quaker spread his chin upon his chest (upon which it descend­ed to the fourth button of his waist­coat) and, twirling one thumb round the other with his fingers folded toge­ther, communed with the spirit about the vanity of searching for happiness in a world where happiness was not to be found.

[Page 165]Surely, sir, (said I) there is a great deal of happiness in the world not­withstanding this—the quaker Groan'd inwardly—Happiness!—cried the gro­cer (for such was the calling of the man whose exteriors smelt so strong of the counter—happiness in the world—aye, certainly there is—I'll answer for that, and a great deal of happiness too—I am the happiest man upon earth myself; —if any man says he's happier, I say he's—no matter for that—the Quaker lifted up the ball of one eye to survey him—I am worth five thousand pounds every morning I rise, aye, and more money—I have got every shilling by my own industry—I have a set of good customers to my back—my wife knows how to turn the penny in the shop when I have a mind to smoke my pipe in [Page 166]the parlour; and I make it a rule never to lend a six pence nor borrow a six pence.

For what wert thou born, friend, said the quaker, drily? Born! why to live—aye and to die too, said the quaker.—pish! replied the grocer, who does not know that; but what does that there argufy, if I can but live merrily and bring up my family honestly—keep the wolf from the door and pay every body their own? I have only one child, and her I'm now going to see—she's 'prentice to a mantua-maker in the city. If she be­haves well, and marries to my think­ing—(and I have a warm man in my eye for her) why so—If she's head­strong, and thinks proper to please herself rather than please me, why [Page 167]she may beg or starve for what I care.

Good GOD! (exclaimed I with ve­hemence) and is it possible—don't swear interrupted the quaker, young man—then turning his head deliber­ately round towards the grocer—and so thou art very happy friend, art thou? Never was man more so—quoth the grocer; so that if you are looking for mertiment and hearts-ease come to to the Sugar loaf, I'm your man— here he begun to hum the fag end of a ballad—"For who is so happy,— so happy as I."—Thy sort of happi­ness, friend (returned the quaker) I shall never envy—thou art happy without either grace or good works to make thee so—Good works, said the grocer, what do you mean by [Page 168]that? I don't owe a penny in the world—I pay lot and scot—I go to church every other Sunday, and I never did a wrongful thing in my life, —Thee may'st be very unserviceable in thy generation for all that, said the quaker—I am afraid by thy own account, thou takest too much care in cherishing thy outward man, yet art slow to cherish thy poor brethren. Why in what pray does thy happiness consist? says the grocer archly—In turn­ing the wanderer into the right way, rejoin'd the quaker—in feeding the hungry penitent with the milk of bro­therly love, and in cloathing the naked, soul with the comfortable rai­ment of righteousness.—Pshaw! cries the grocer; you had better feed the poor devils with a pennyworth of my [Page 169]plumbs. How many pennyworth of plumbs may'st thou give away yearly in thy parish? (said the quaker.) I tell thee, said the grocer, I never pretend to give away any thing—things are too dear, and taxes are too heavy for that—besides about seventeen years ago, I was poor myself and wanted a dinner as much as any body —but I never found solk so ready to give me any thing—no, not so much as a bit of bread—not so much as this, snapping his singers.

Surely (cried I, greatly agitated) that ought to be a strong argument to stimulate your benevolence—Bene­volence, said the quaker, young man is not consined to the mere act of throwing away money—I never give any money myself, but then I give store [Page 170]of spiritual food—I preach in the house and tabernacle of the Lord, and I travel far and near to bestow religi­ous consolation of the spirit gratis— whereas that man on the contrary spendeth his substance amongst vain companions or hoardeth it up to swell the pomps of the flesh—verily, I fear his transgressions are mighty.— The quaker paused and the grocer winked waggishly upon me with one eye, and kept looking ironically at the quaker with the other.—Here now (thought I) are two very opposite cha­racters—the quaker, for aught I see, is as mercenary as the grocer, though their avarice is differently modisied according to the different prejudices of their education.


Pray gentlemen give me leave to ask you a few questions, said I. Is not to be good to be happy—there can be no doubt of it, said the quaker —Is not benevolence the way to good­ness—certainly—would not you then be happier, sir, if you were to add a few corporeal comforts to the religious consolations you bestow— for instance, if to the milk of brotherly love (which is perhaps a delicious diet for the soul) you were to add the wholesome milk of a cow, to satisfy the natural cravings of the body—and would it not increase [Page 172] your happiness, Mr. Grocer, if, not contented with the negative merit of having done no wrong, you would now and then condescend to do some­thing absolutely good—such as be­stowing, from the over-slowings of your plenty, something to those which cannot but look up to your successful circumstances with a little envy— and suppose, instead of choosing for your daughter, you were, in a point so important to her, to leave the choice to herself—for my own part gentlemen I have a good fortune, which I design to dedicate to the service of my fellow-creatures, and though I should be sorry to waste my bounty upon the undeserving, yet I had rather hazard such a mis­take than not indulge the liberal pro­pensities [Page 173]of my heart—Thou talkest like a young man, said the quaker: I I am sure he knows nothing of trade, said the grocer, and if you hold in that mind long, I'd lay ten to one you will not have six pence to bless yourself. Benevolence, indeed—its very well to talk of in the pulpit, as master Holdfast says—and its very well in your history books, and your sermon books, but it won't do in the world—not at all—a man may give away all he has, and be never the nearer—people will only laugh at you, when all is said and done. While you have got money in your pocket to pay the butcher's bill, you may always have a hot dish every day, aye, and sauce into the bargain; but if you do all the good in the world and come at last to [Page 174]want, you may pass by a whole mar­ket full of meat, and I'd lay ten to one the man whom you set up in business, will hardly give you a marrow-bone.—Here the quaker groaned bitterly — and the grocer taking a paper full of biscuits out of his pockets, eat away without offer­ing to distribute his refreshment, and then proceeded.—


You talk of benevolence, and good­ness, and such like—for my part, as I said before, I never knew any thing but mischief come of any thing but trade. Now I'll tell you a story— at this instant a poor tatter'd wretch, with a bundle of thread-bare rags on his back—a wooden leg—half an hand, and a tenth of an eye, came stumping towards the coach, to sollicit our com­miseration.—The driver no sooner beheld him rising from the bank on which he was resting, than—probably to save his passengers the trouble of hearing a dismal story—he began to spirit up his horses, in that kind of [Page 176]language which defies spelling, and which the animals understand as per­fectly, as the greatest philologist in the world. It is a dialect peculiar to the stable, and not inserted in any dictionary extant. In this dialect the driver now harangued his steeds: and as a convincing proof, they took the hi [...]t, we felt the wheels spring unde [...] us, by which means the poor lame fellow was soon thrown far be­hind, and the grocer declared it was very well done in the coachman, whom he should remember at the next stage to dram for his civility. The quaker observed, the high­ways and hedges were now so lined with vagrants, that sober people could not pass unmolested by such naughty children of hypocrisy — the [Page 177]person in brown put his hand as if in­voluntarily, upon his breast, and sighed—upon looking through the windows, I saw the poor beggar at a considerable distance, halting on his crutch, and giving up the pursuit in despair. The coach now arrived at the foot of a steep hill, and there stopt awhile, and the humane driver, (who had galloped away from his fellow-creature) came to acquaint us how much he would be obliged to us, and how charitable it would be, if our honours would please to walk up the hill, and give the poor jades a bit of a holiday. I ordered him imme­diately to open the door, and alighted; the gentleman in mourning did the same—the grocer swore he paid for horseslesh, and would have it, that he [Page 178]would not stir a foot till he came to the dining-place—that he had walking enough at home, and that he would always have his pennyworth for his penny; adding, he did design to wet the whistle of Mr. Whipcord, but that he would now put the money to a bet­ter use. The quaker bid the coach­man shut the door, and proceed in his journey: the fellow muttered between his teeth, they were a couple of Hot­tentots, and did not know what be­longed to a christian to behave in that manner to dumb creatures. He then conversed very pathetically with his horses, stroked them on the neck, and gradually gained the summit. By this time the lame man seeing the carriage make a dead stop, and ga­thering fresh hope, or perhaps urged [Page 179]by extreme hunger approached within a few paces of us. I beckoned him to make the best of his way. He shook his head, as much as to say he apprehended the thing was not practicable. I went to him, but the asthma was so heavy on his lungs, and his breath was so laboriously exerted, that he could only testify his necessity by dropping on the only whole knee he had, and holding out his hat in his only whole hand. I put some­thing in it, raised him up, and with some difficulty got him to the side of the coach, which had made a second pause, at the center of the hill. He bowed to the gentleman in black who put six-pence into the hat, and dropt a tear into the bargain. I bid him to try his luck in the coach.—The [Page 180]fellow looked into his hat, and a little suffusion of red, rambled over his cheek, as much as to say, he had been already nobly used—I insisted upon his paying his respects to my fellow-passengers. He did so — the grocer (seeing so much money in the hat) protested, that nothing could ex­ceed his impudence, except the extra­vagant folly of those who had taken so much pains to encourage a vagabond—that he had more in his hat than enough to set up a shop in the country, and that he ought to go home to his parish, and be whipped into workhouse; the quaker said, he was a naughty beggar, and desired he would move away from the vehi­cle. The poor man said nothing— there was no reproach in his eyes, [Page 181]but when he limped again towards us, to make a farewel bow, they were so full of tears, that he turned about as quickly as he decently could, to con­ceal them.


—And now we were at the top of the hill (which was indeed one of the cloud-capt kind) and the coachman desired us to get in, as the Angel was hard by, where we should have the best attendance upon the road. A dispute now arose upon the subject of giving alms to com­mon beggars—the quaker said they were ungodly brethren, and deserved [Page 182]no assistance either spiritual or pecu­niary—the grocer, observed that they always made him sick to look at them, and that if they were to hanker about the Sugar-loaf, he would dite them for a nuisance. The silent gentleman— for such he might be almost called— said, it was sometimes hard to tell whether itinerant mendicants, merited assistance or not, but when a poor wretch without either limbs, or cloaths, presented himself before the eye, there could be neither doubt nor dissi­culty in the case—where there is doubt said I, I had rather run the risque of misplacing bounty, than by not being, bountiful through a cool and political caution, and dread of being wrong—the grocer closed the whole dissertation by that excellent [Page 183]and new observation—that charity, begins at home, and that it behoved every man to take care of his fa­mily.—


The sign of the Angel, upon which the sunbeams were sporting, now dis­played itself, beside the road, and the coachman (delighted with the prospect and resolving to impress us with a proper idea of his dexterity) resound­ed the whip, and drove us upon the full trot up to the door. After we had swallowed our meal, a fresh driver observed to us that as the road to the next stage was heavy, and dragging, [Page 184]and that as it was winter time—though in fact it was only the fall of the leaf —dark came upon us sooner than if it was summer, he therefore hoped we would make haste. The grocer de­clared he did not like to be benighted, though he had nothing to lose even if he should be stopt—the quaker turned white—though his natural complexion was rosy,—at the idea— the gentleman in mourning said that he was ready, and I—(holding out a glass to the driver, who tossed it off without any other testimony of gratitude, than scraping a dirty boot along the floor—for which the waiter cast an evil eye at him) led the way to the machine. As soon as we had got into the road, I remind­ed the grocer of his promise to oblige [Page 185]us with a story. He said he was but a bad hand at that sort of work, but that if we were inclined to hear the thing rough as it run, we might. I told him I should thankfully at­tend — the quaker nodded assent, and the grocer after once more assur­ing us he had no knack at story­telling, and that Tim Slade the excise­man was twice a match for him, thus began:

Why, as I was going to tell you, there was young Bob Blewitt, of our parish, as fine a scholar, and as come­ly a man as you shall see 'twixt this and London. He was one of your benevolent chaps. One man he put into a farm—another he set up in a shop; another he gave a potion to marry; and to several fatherless, and [Page 186]motherless girls, he gave dowries. As to beggars, and sick folk, and such like, he sent them broth and broken victuals—to lying in women, (whether they had been before parson or not) he sent bottles of wine, and possets and potecaries; and at the end of town he purchased a piece of ground, upon which he built a bit of an hospital, which I think he called a cradle for old age, and people past labour. In short, and to come at once to the point without running round about my story—how confoundedly the coach jolts says the grocer, and what a d—d noise it makes—I can't hear myself — the quaker bid him not be prophane—The silent gentle­man pulled up one window—I pulled up the other. The grocer went on—

[Page 187]—In short, as I said before—whew whew—whereabouts was I?—at the hospital, said I—aye—aye, right, con­tinued the grocer—this hospital, cost him a pretty round sum—he wanted indeed to build by subscription,— no—no, said the gentry o'the neigh­bourhood, that will bring all the vagrants of the country upon us, and we have poor enough of our own, and for them we have a workhouse. Mr. Blewitt said he did not mean to build a workhouse, but a comfortable— sylum, I think he called it—for such as can work no longer. Howsomdever not a souse could he get, only the old curate (who has five or six and twenty pounds, per year) was fool enough to give five pounds to­wards the scheme—so Blewitt carried [Page 188]on his building alone, and cursed was the hour in which he dipped his fingers in mortar and laid the first brick—

How so, said I eagerly, sure this was rearing for himself a monument, which ascended (figuratively speak­ing) into heaven—I don't know for that—but figure or no figure, master Bob Blewett cut but a bad figure in the end. In fine, you shall seldom here of such a man—ever doing sommit for somebody or another. The upshot was, that he was teazed from morning to night with beggars and imposters, and vagabonds, and bastards—one went with a sorrow­ful face to beg one thing—another to beg another thing—in short every body wanted something—now [Page 189]you shall hear what come of this. Come of it, sir, said I, what could come of it, but congratulation of heart, and universal gratitude? the quaker began to hum—the grocer smil'd, and the cheek of the gentleman in mourning was wet


—Now mind (cried the grocer), mind what tricks were played, upon the founder of the feast. The labour­ers pretended to be sick that they might get food for nothing, so that the farmers could not get their field­work done—many people got into trouble, purpose that he should get them out again—the young forward [Page 190]husseys of the parish got big-bellies, purpose that he should see the brats provided for, so that this made the justice grunt a little—he must needs put a large parcel of money into the hands of lawyer Limbo—every body knows him—I'd as soon build churches with my money, as trust he with it—well, one night, off went master Limbo and got beyond sea—and se­veral other things about the same time ran cross and crooked with poor Bob, so that in short he found matters sadly altered.—

Alas? said the gentleman in black —alas? I love and pity him.

I worship him, said I,—I respect him, said the quaker.

That's more than other folk did, rejoined the grocer. He was now [Page 191]next to penniless. As sure as you are alive he stayed till all was gone, and his bones came well nigh through his skin before he complained, and then he tried to borrow a trifle of folk he had made—not a six-penny piece could he get in the parish. At length the old curate, after a deal of persuasion, prevailed on him to go and live with him, though the old fellow could scarely buy a neck of mutton to make sabbath-day broth for himself.—

But GOD, said the gentleman in mourning, will make him amends yet.—He may be in heaven now for aught I know to the contrary cried the grocer—I am sure of it said I— very like proceeded the grocer, for he died about six weeks after this, and put the parish to the charge of open­ing [Page 192]the ground for him at last. Not a doit did he leave behind him, ex­cept a few old books, and picture, —two old fashioned blackish coats, and a bit or two of a shirt; as to no­nicals he could not afford they, and so he preached in sarplus—as soon as he was buried and put into the grave which we thought Blewitt would never leave—affairs were worse than ever. Bob was as bad off as a beggar. The bettermost people lifted up their shoulders and gave him a bit of dinner, first one, then another; and this they say hurt him, for at last the rich made no ceremonies, but bid him step down and get a morsel in kitchen. After this—he never held up his head; the poor folks said 'twas a thousand pities such a good gentleman should come to want: his kin told him 'twas just [Page 193]what they expected; his friends said he deserved it, and the world at first whispered, then openly declared that nothing but a madman, or a person never brought up to any business, would have acted in that manner. Here the quaker groan'd louder than ever, and holding up his hands as high as his shoulders, shook them in a horizontal descension, till they fell again with great method and solemnity upon the flaps of his coat. The grocer began to yawn and stretch himself; and where think you, conti­nued he, gaping — where is Mr. Blewitt now—why in one of the dirti­est wards in his own hospital—seldom or ever sees any body—now and then crawls out at dead night and goes into churchyard to visit the grave of the [Page 194]old curate—sometimes is quite aside himself: and is mashiated to a per­fect ottomey: and all this is true as sure as you are in this coach.—


—How far are we come? said I hastily,—The last stone, said the grocer, was sixty-six—I have a great mind to go back, replied I—I would give any money to see Mr. Blewitt—how­ever I will not forget to send my com­pliments to so excellent a character. Aye, quoth the grocer, but while the grass grows—you understand me— spare your reproof, fir, said I, no time shall be lost—did he ever taste thy bounty friend, cried the quaker— [Page 195]aye has he, many a time, said the gro­cer. I have given him the offal of plumbs, currants, raspins of a loaf and such like. Dainty diet, returned the quaker, truly!—I cannot express my anxiety for him said I—Xiety, re­plied the benefactor of raspins—what signifies talking of that—stick to the main chance. Go to church, and hear good sermons, and read good books, and take good advice, and keep your money in the till, and put the key in your pocket, and keep yourself out of debt—but above all, mind this—neither lend a six-pence, nor borrow six a pence, for that's the only way to live, take my word for it.—Here he finished, with the self­important air of a man, who, having the world before him, did not care [Page 196]six pence for the interest of any person in it except the concern he took in the welfare of one worthless individual,— namely—himself.

Thy story, friend, said the quaker, is too exact a picture of this wicked world. I pray thee, young friend, have the fate of brother Blewitt in thy re­membrance. If thou hast abundance, take care thereof, for no man know­eth what shall happen to-morrow, and I have myself seen, strange things in my time.

The shadows of the night now prevailed over the day, and the light of some candles at a small distance led me to suppose we were pretty near our destination for the evening —however I was mistaken; the lights were in a village through which we [Page 197]were to pass, and we had many a long mile to travel to the place of our re­pose.


At length we reached our inn, where being shewn into a small but comfortable room, I proposed to order a supper. The quaker declared he never eat any—that the fraility of his mortality weighed down his spirit, and he found himself in­clined to slumber. So saying, he rang the bell for a candle, folded himself up in his surtout, and in less than ten minutes forgot, I doubt not, the fate of Mr. Blewitt, and even the holding­forth which he should give before the brother and sister, who became help­mates [Page 198]in the flesh, and yoke-fellows after God's holy ordinance. The gro­cer wished him a good night, protest­ing nevertheless, that for his part, supper was his best meal; upon which declaration I shall only observe, that if he meant to deposit more in­to his belly than he did at din­ner few people would choose to board him, at the usual rates. The gentle­man in black declined eating, but observed it would be right to order something. I declared that I had sup­ped upon Mr. Blewitt. The grocer thought proper to shew his—want of wit; saying, (it would, he believed,) be no easy matter to make a meal out of poor Bob, as he was certain there was not an ounce of flesh upon his whole carcase: upon this sally, (at which he [Page 199]laugh'd heartily,) he applied to a bell which hung in the center of the room, and after the waiter had repeated the promise of Coming!—coming!— about ten times, he actually made his entrance, and was as pert perpendicular an appearance as could be well conceiv­ed. The grocer ordered a most plenti­ful and solid banquet, wisely considering that, as the charges were to be divided into three equal shares, and as it was likely there would in reality be no great occasion for more than one knife and fork, which knife and fork would be nearest to the sides of his own plate, the expence, upon the whole, could not be greater to himself than if he had purchased singly a very moderate supper. While the supper was dres­sing, I could not but take a review of the grocer, who, instead of drooping [Page 200]under the fatigues of his corpulence, or the natural lassitude which succeeds a journey, was all hope, eagerness, and expectation. He began to handle the knife, called for a whetstone, tucked a towel under his chin, smacked his lips in echo to the cork—bad us take notice of the stains in the bottle, and set the wine before the fire. In this situation he sat and filled an elbow­chair—as fine a figure for the pencil of Hogarth, or for Reynolds (if Reynolds chose to astonish in the ludicrous,) as ever presented itself to the imagina­tion of genius. He was a squat, thick, —disproportioned, puffing rotundity; his face had that jolly plumpness, which buries every natural mark of meaning in greasy vacuity. In the middle of that face were set two eyes, which swam in a stupid fluid, that [Page 201]seemed to be a distillation from tal­low; and at the bottom was a chin which unusually broadened from the under jaw downwards; so that instead of terminating in a peak, was rolled up at the bottom into a round pellet of flesh under which hung those col­lops that distinguish men of his habit. The thickness of his hands were by no means proportioned to their length, nor was there any space from the ear to the shoulder, for a cord, had it been his fate to be elevated: such was the personage that now waddled—I will not venture to say walked into the kitchen, with a reso­lution to hasten the cook, for having waited near half an hour, he declared that if he stayed five minutes longer, he should out wait his appetite and then [Page 202]should not be able to eat a morsel—tho' he was, he must own, vastly fond of fish, loved roast fowl beyond any thing that was spitted—doated upon cold ham—admired veal cutlets, had no objection to pigeon pye, and thought minced-veal very tolerable. He had not disappeared more than tea mi­nutes before the kitchen was in an uproar, and the waiter came skipping into the room to acquaint us that our friend would certainly be murder'd if we did not immediately carry him off. We bustled into the kitchen which now presented a scene of caricature and confusion, so truly ridiculous, that it requires the pens of the immortal Fielding and Smollete to do it justice.—It demands a chapter to itself.—


—The grocer was standing in his shirt offering to box with the best in the place, the cook was brandishing the baster, the landlord was threatening to destroy the carcase of the grocer, an half-pay officer with one arm, was clapping our host upon the back, the house-dog held the grocer by the breeches, and the hostess was encou­raging Tiger to keep his hold. It was some time before we could learn the occasion of the fray, for the comba­tants rather grew more violent than tranquil, especially when the grocer ostentatiously swore that he could buy the whole house, and afterwards [Page 204]have more money to spare than any man in company. This touched the son of the sword, whose face became immediately regimental, and march­ing up to the grocer snaped his fin­gers against that prominent piece of flesh which nature had given him for a nose; and which, unused to that rigid and soldier like salutation, spouted a copious stream, which be­painted the prodigious breadth of linen which covered his carcase. The grocer however by no means sickened at the sight of blood, but grew more sanguine in his resentment, for he now dashed his fists, about like a fury,—his blows were indeed given at random, because he was obliged to hold his head down to prevent drinking his own blood—In one of these blows it [Page 205]happened, that his tremendous paw fell upon the jaws of the landlady, who catching him by the ear, overset his wig, and discovering a fat new­shorn pate, did so decorate it with the crimson marks of her delicate nails, that in less than three minutes, his head resembled a new ploughed field, only that the surrows were red instead of being earth-colour. The landlord had now an opportunity to reinforce his wife—the captain gave the word of command, Tiger roar'd out mainly in the midst, and the cook emptied the dripping-pan upon the back of the miserable grocer, whose life was now so critically circumstanced that had not the officer by declaring the victory was completely gained, put an end to the contention, he [Page 206]must assuredly have given up the ghost. This dreadful fracas (as is often the case) arose from a very trifling begin­ing: upon the grocer's entering the kitchen, he thought proper to assume the authority of a man of very con­siderable consequence, and began by acquainting the cook, that though he chose to travel in a stage he was not to be trifled with, as he could pay for a coach and six if he thought sit, adding, he believed few that travel­led the road knew better what good usage was—he then found fault with the cutlets which he said were too thick, and too red—complained that the fowl was an old hen, for that her legs were as well guarded as a sighting cock's, and that the fire was abun­dantly too fierce and would scorch [Page 207]before it warmed through: upon this, he sallied to the salt box, and was proceeding to empty the con­tents upon the coals, when the (landlady, though not an ill-tem­pered woman,) thought her pro­vince of scolding her own ser­vants so cruelly invaded that she de­sired him, in no very gentle voice, to desist; and on his refusing the request the host himself interposed, till at last the grocer (recollecting how well he had secured the mainchance, and tak­ing from thence a pride of heart, which frequently emanates from a full purse,) he told the landlord he was an ill-bred saucy rascal, and that he was a better man than ever stood in his house. This being a censure that involved every one present, the [Page 208]aforesaid armless officer thought him­self aggrieved, and approaching the grocer, chucked him under the chin; but unluckily the grocer's mouth being then open'd by anger, those two ranges of bony fortification caught his tongue, till he almost sunk to earth with the violence of the pain. And this it was that made him disrobe himself and stand in the posture we at first found him; which, though heroic, was rather unfortunate, as somebody, (in the hurry and heat of battle, perhaps to prevent their being made bloody,) had moved off with his snuff-coloured coat, and black velvet waist coat. The engagement was how­ever at length over, and we led our champion (not indeed in triumph, but leaning upon the arm of me, and [Page 209]the gentleman in mourning) into the room, with such a burlesque altera­tion of figure, that benevolence itself must have smiled, as she pitied him.

The idea, even of supper, was now his last idea—his first was that of water, to wash away his stains; his second, was a bed to soothe his bruises. The landlady was now rather appeas­ed, and permitted the chamberlain to shew the poor devil to bed, vowing however that she would make him pay smartly for it in the morning. As soon as the grocer was gone, the gentleman in mourning observed to me, that people of low education, and little minds, were always capable of a silly ostensibility, that sooner or later brought them into disgrace. Having spent a few minutes more in contem­plating [Page 210]the vanity of this odd and disgusting character, and promising to rise early to pursue our journey, we parted for the night.


Our rest was interrupted at the dawn. The quaker, however, com­plained that he was ill—The grocer was tolerably mended, but swore he would not stir a foot till he recover­ed every thing he had lost, from the biscuits in his pocket to the minutest hair in his peruke. As this message was brought us, a chaise and four, which had been travelling all night, came rattling into the yard, before which came two servants, and one [Page 211]was at the tail of it. The whole house, (early as it was,) got out of their beds and hurried to the chaise-door— the bells rang as if the house was on fire, and his honour was serenaded into the best room, by about a dozen domestics. The gentleman in black said he knew the traveller. Heavens! said I, what a bustle is here about an individual indeed—aye, sir, replied my friend, (for such I began to wish he was) there is an invariable rule for these things—a chaise and pair commands attention—a chaise and four enforces homage, but a chaise and six claims adoration. Nor is this obedience paid so often to the person­ages within, as to the idea of the thing itself—we travel in a common stage; 'tis so mechanical a conveyance, [Page 212]that as the waiter and landlords ex­pect little, they let us come in, and go out, as peaceably as if we were the passengers of a waggon. If we were to go post we should be used in a dif­ferent style, and 'tis ten to one if the postilions, (who have a vanity in sitting before their superiors,) do not transmit a lye from one to an­other, that we are princes in-cog. —To tell you the truth (said I) I am heartily tired of my old companions, from whom I have already gained as much knowledge, as if I were to tra­vel with them to the world's end, and for once—(if you will bear me com­pany,) I will purchase a little atten­tion upon the road, by performing the rest of our journey in chaises. With all my heart, said the gentleman.—

[Page 213]After drinking a glass of warm wine, and having taken leave of our former fellow-travellers, we got into a neat carriage, which rolled away briskly on the road to London; but not before we had run the gaunt­let through a new sett of impostors, and satisfied the demands of all those who hang round the wheels of an hackney chaise. At this additional charge I expressed my surprize; Be not alarmed, replied the gentleman, but think yourself very well off, for if you had clapt another pair of horses to the carriage the expectations of the servants would have been raised in proportion. Aye, and I can tell you, the person we saw step out of the chaise and four paid something extra, for his gold binding upon the saddle­cloths, [Page 214]and even for the trimming upon his waistcoat—though that last circumstance has lost its pristine dignity in a great degree, since our barbers, taylors, and other crasts, have of late years belaced themselves from top to bottom, whenever they make an excursion into the country. Yet gold, either in or out of the pocket, will always have an influence. Then respect of this kind is really to be bought, said I—not only of this kind, rejoined the gentlemen, but of almost every other. The interchange of all ordinary civilities, is a mere verbal traffic, and as to compli­ments upon gay appearances, they are so extremely marketable, that the bargain and sale at Smithfield is not more in the way of business.


—Whenever the gentleman in black spoke, there was so much sere­nity and good sense in his remarks, shaded, and as it were softened by some latent anxiety, that I own my curiosity was extremely excited to know more about him. His person was tall and spare; his complexion extremely pale, and somewhat tinged with a faint­ish yellow: there was a pathetic pensive cast in his eyes, that rather denoted the languors of incessant uneasiness, than the deadness of dissipation; and the ruins of a smile, which ap­peared to be constitutional, gave a philanthropy to his face, which de­fied the depredations of sorrow and time.

[Page 216]The sun now had risen above the clouds, and promised us an agreeable day; and the face of nature, even in the decline of the year, appeared bright and beautiful. There are few calami­ties so great, and few fates so severe as to leave us totally insensible­to the magic of a fine morning. A warm sun, a clear sky, the charm of vegetation,—the melody amongst the branches,—the refresh­ment from the night's repose,—and the prospects of surrounding plenty, are sufficient to relax the woe of the most melancholy traveller. Such were their force at present that every feature of my companion underwent a chearful alteration. He always spoke before in a plaintive voice, but (as he now bid me observe how fortu­nate [Page 217]we were in our weather,) there was a degree of that sort of pleasure in his accent, which appears to be in­spired by any sudden satisfaction of the heart. I improved this humour by turning our discourse into an en­tertaining channel: and it will be soon seen that this gentleman (whose name I found to be Greaves) was master of every subject, had thought much and rightly, and had contem­plated every point deserving contem­plation, with an accuracy, a taste, and an elegance, peculiar to men which have caught instruction from lessons of life, a sober exercise of the understand­ing, and a judicious course of study.


The satisfaction, sir, said I, that I feel, from our favourable weather, is much heightened by finding myself relieved from the nonsense of my for­mer companions—pray what do you think of them?—I think of them, replied Mr. Greaves, as of men, possessing that kind of knowledge which confers the happiness suited to their coarse, and—I had almost said invulnerable feelings—each is happy according to the habits of his life— they are a fresh, and by no means a weak instance, of a great truth, I have long maintained, aye, and at the expence of many a warm argu­ment.

[Page 219]Pray what is it?—Why, simply this, ‘—Education is all in all.—’

I scarce compre—Give me leave, sir, —said Mr. Greaves, putting his two fore-singers lightly on my breast. I have seen this world (and that is a bold word to say) from top to bot­tom; and have now past upwards of forty-three years—I might have said forty-six—in a situation which threw me amongst all ranks of people, and the result of my whole experience is this—but my meaning is so prettily express'd by one of our present drama­tic poets, that—though I am no friend in general to quotations, I cannot resist it in this case—I think it is in the sentimental play of Zara—to the best of my memory these are the words, [Page 220]which are intended as an apology for apostacy:

I see too plainly, custom forms us all:
Our thoughts, our morals, our most fix'd belief,
Are consequences of our place of birth:
Born beyond Ganges—I had been a P [...]g [...];
In France a Christian—I am here a [...].
'Tis but instruction all! Our parent's hand
Writes on our hearts the first faint characters,
Which time retracing, deepens into strength
That nothing can efface, but death, or hea­ven.

In these lines there is not more poe­try than truth, and truth which extends from pole to pole. A mind unaccustomed to remark, or inexperi­enced in life, cannot possibly conceive how surprizingly all people are influ­enced [Page 221]by custom and early instruc­tion. It is indeed a proverb with us, which proverb is in every mouth, that "use is second nature"—but thousands search no farther into this matter, than just to repeat the expression, and there leave it. Every one knows and feds the fact, and that is sufficient to convince us of its universality: but I, who have occasionally delight­ed in philosophic studies, have taken some pains—but they were extreme pleasing ones—to trace the point, countained in the lines I have just spoken, very minntely; and from the closest, and the coolest investiga­tion I am led to believe, that an insi­nite quantity of that which passes in the world for vice, and virtue—ob­serve I speak not of natural good or [Page 222]evil—is totally the operation of habit, and custom, and education.


—I am quite a child, sir—said I —in such speculations—I cannot clearly—I will endeavour to explain myself, (rejoined the gentleman with great good-nature.) Mr. Pope observes —that as the twig is bent, the tree's inclined. How beautiful and how justly was it said. The colour of our future fortune greatly depends up­on a few slight circumstances, that attend us in our nursery—exceptions you know are admitted. But pray call to mind your acquaintances— some are in business—others are train­ed [Page 223]to pleasure. Suppose a child born under every favourable event of tem­poral prosperity—the father is rich— the mother is beautiful: its cradle is soft and downy, its pap is made of the whitest bread, and every accommoda­tion that the little stranger demands, is in the highest perfection—It will not be long before these softnesses will have so great an influence upon the body, that the infant will imbibe from these blessings, an idea of luxury—suppose on the other hand a child which is the offspring of laborious and indi­gent parents—its birth is effected upon the straw, or on sacking without cur­tains, the wind blowing hard through the casement—the mother lies down contented with her small beer caudle, and on the third or fourth day, she is [Page 224]up, and dandling the babe upon het knee, or dancing it in her arms—about the time that the rich child begins to know the delicacy of its condition, he poor one would find itself promising and hardy, and in some degree i [...] ­ed to the storms of life—let them he at this period each five years old; the one has acquired a sensation of [...], the other an habit of hardihood—sup­pose then, about this time, it were possi­ble for them to change situations. The pennyless lad shall go into the warm villa—the rich stripling into the cold cottage—what would be the consequence? exactly the same as if the two mothers and fathers should exchange. All would be distress, dilemma, confusion, and aukward­ness—the pampered youth would [Page 225]croud over the wretched bit of a blaze made by two sticks, laid across a brick, and the lad who was bred in a tem­pest, and seasoned to wind and wea­ther, would very probably toss his play­thing against the fine sash-window to let in the air, and prevent suffoca­tion. Thus far I have spoken with respect to the influence of early habits upon the body. Let us now see what effect they have upon the mind. The connexion betwixt our mortal and immortal part, is far closer than be­twixt man and wife. Nothing can befal the one that is indifferent to the other: sympathy implanted by na­ture is universally reciprocated, and the tie is at once tender, and forci­ble. [Page 226]Consequently the minds of those two boys, must be affected very sensibly by their respective educations and customs. As they grow up those customs will so strengthen, that no­thing but "death or heaven" can reconcile them to an innovation, either in thought, word, or deed. The poor boy, having heard nothing but unpolished language, eat no­thing but coarse food, and passed his day amongst clowns, and cat­tle, will for ever continue in the track, and if by any unlucky stroke of chance, he is called to new pursuits, his misery must be dated from the day in which he deserted the spade, the ploughshare, or the flail. The rich boy in the mean time rises into [Page 227]man, amidst the clash of carriages, the comfort of couches, and the luxuries of laziness. His ears are ac­customed to music, flattery, and fash­ion; and his eyes are daily charm­ed with objects of dissipation or de­light. No possible accident could be more fatal to his peace, than a sudden deprivation of these pleasures. Take him again into the hut, like a fish upon land, he finds himself instantly out of his element: the greatest transports of the peasant, are agony to him, and every thing around, and within him, is as strange as if he had stept into a new world. Why is all this?—merely because they have been taught to think, and feel and act differently—on the other hand—but I [Page 228]must tire you, fir—I am concerned; returned I, Mr. Greaves should think an apology necessary for bestowing upon me the greatest pleasure upon earth.—Mr. Greaves paused a little, bowed and proceed­ed.


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